SILVER SPRING, Md. - Tens of thousands of Maryland residents are calling for an investigation into the E-ZPass billing system.
According to a Change.org petition with more than 20,000 signatures, E-ZPass users have been getting toll bills from 2020 and 2021, charged late fees without having received any notices, and some say they’re being charged more than once.
Caroline Huddleston, a resident of Centreville, Maryland, told FOX 5 she started the petition earlier in the month after she received a bill from last November.
"You don’t get it right away. You don’t know anything about it until boom, they send you something," she explained. "And there’s a fine attached; if you don’t pay it within a certain amount of time."
Huddleston says several people who have been through similar situations reached out to her since she started the petition .
"I started finding so many people who are in bad shape," Huddleston said. "They’re getting $3,000 to $4,000 in fines, and they were talking about holding vehicle registrations and taking tax returns."
"I have a friend who had a two-inch stack of bills, and it was all six-dollar bills and each one it shows a picture of his vehicle with a transponder in the windshield."
Huddleston said while he was able to get most of her fees waived by going to the E-ZPass office, not everyone can do that since there are long wait times in-person and via phone.
She said she believes the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) will likely waive some penalties and fees, but she still wants Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to create a taskforce, so it doesn’t happen again.
"I would still like to see a larger investigation into what’s going on and why it’s happening, so it doesn’t keep happening," Huddleston said. "Waving the penalties doesn’t solve the problem. The system is broken and needs to be fixed and somebody needs to find out why."
During its public meeting in Baltimore on Thursday, the MDTA Board members approved a Customer Assistance Plan that includes a civil penalty waiver grace period that waives all civil penalties for customers who pay their unpaid bill before Dec. 1. The Customer Assistance Plan came at the recommendation of Gov. Hogan, who asked the MDTA Board to explore ways to provide relief ro customers facing late fees on toll bills that accrued during the height of the pandemic.