Thousands of motorists overcharged on DFW Connector

08/05/2014 5:22 PM

08/07/2014 3:30 PM

The North Texas Tollway Authority was “bombarded” Tuesday with calls from motorists who were among the 141,362 incorrectly charged for driving on the DFW Connector, a spokesman said.

The charges piled up during what was supposed to be a testing period May 26 to July 6 on the new toll road in Northeast Tarrant County — to the tune of $171,000 for 192,000 transactions.

The authority was scrambling Tuesday to refund the money, said spokesman Michael Rey. The NTTA has an agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation to bill drivers.

“We are asking people to be a little patient as we are being bombarded right now,” Rey said. “We just apologize,and we are doing everything to make it right.”

The tollway authority is in the process of crediting people’s accounts, and Rey said motorists will receive emails notifying them of the credits and providing links to their accounts.

Tony Hartzel, a spokesman for TxDOT, said equipment, including license plate readers, was being tested during the “no charge” period.

“It’s best to do that with live traffic,” he said.

The, data collected during the testing was inadvertently sent to be processed for billing, he said.

Hartzel said most of the transactions were for less than a dollar, but the amounts depended on how often the person drove on the DFW Connector.

Actual tolling started July 7 on the 4-mile stretch of Texas 114 that goes through Grapevine. The toll lanes on the Connector start just west of Texas 26 and continue to east of International Parkway.

Tolls on the TEXpress lanes vary from 67 cents at slower times to $1 during peak periods. The higher charge is aimed at discouraging drivers from using the toll lanes, keeping them moving at a minimum of 50 mph.

The DFW Connector cost $1 billion and was completed last year.

“It’s understandable that people are upset and want information,” Rey said.

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