Recently the toll rates for the first 180 days of the new Interstate 77 managed lanes were announced. But how those bills are actually sent has been a question by some, and getting the information out there before the roads open later this year is important to N.C. Department of Transportation staff.
Warren Cooksey, director of outreach and community affairs for the N.C. Turnpike Authority, said during a recent presentation on the topic that the billing aspect was something they learned was an issue when opening a toll road in Raleigh several years ago.
Managed lanes in the state don’t use toll booths, and they won’t be used on I-77 either. Options include N.C. Quick Pass, N.C. Quick Pass E-ZPass and the N.C. Quick Pass E-ZPass Flex Transponder. The SunPass (Florida) and Peach Pass (Georgia) will also work. Pass-link accounts can be preloaded with funds to cover tolls and vehicles with transponders are also charged discounted toll rates.
However, for those who don’t want to use transponders, bills will be mailed to the address of the vehicle’s registered owner. Cooksey advised people to make sure they handle toll bills promptly like they would other bills to avoid additional fees. People can pay by mail, online or at the N.C. Quick Pass Service Center, which is located off of Interstate 485 near Harris Boulevard. Payment is due within 30 days.
For those who plan to simply not pay, know there are consequences.
According to Cooksey, the first invoice is for the toll amount. The second one comes with the unpaid balance, a processing fee that can’t exceed $6 and any new tolls. The third invoice has the $6 processing fee, a $25 processing fee and any new tolls. By the fourth invoice, registration can be blocked on the license plate, which means those wanting to renew their registration won’t be able to. A case can also be sent to a collection agency.
Registered motorcycles, buses, high-occupancy vehicles with a transponder and emergency responders can use the toll lanes free of charge.
More about the transponders and billing can be found at www.ncdot.gov.