Audit finds electronic tolls overbilled Maryland drivers

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Maryland legislative auditors found that glitches in the cashless tolling infrastructure at the state’s bridges, tunnels and express lanes overbilled motorists thousands of dollars.

The Baltimore Sun reports that the Office of Legislative Audit’s report on the Maryland Transportation Authority comes about a year after the state announced it permanently ceased cash toll collections — put on hold during the coronavirus pandemic — and moved to fully electronic tolling systems.

"We received allegations on our fraud, waste, and abuse hotline alleging that MDTA was not taking sufficient action to detect and address the overbilling of customers for electronic tolling due to issues with its new toll equipment," Legislative Auditor Gregory Hook wrote in a letter to the legislature’s Joint Audit and Evaluation Committee.

An electronic billing system replaced traditional cash toll booths in Maryland during the pandemic. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

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"Our audit disclosed that MDTA was inconsistent in its actions related to the impact of issues with its electronic toll collection system on its customers and potential customer overbillings," Hook’s letter said.

The report was first reported by WBAL-TV. It identified tolling issues at the Fort McHenry Tunnel in Baltimore, the Francis Scott Key Bridge, the Intercounty Connector in Montgomery County and the Thomas J. Hatem Memorial Bridge in Cecil County.

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Problems included electronic tolls incorrectly counting vehicle axels and overcharging motorists, customers billed twice for passing a toll once and overbilling for some with commuter plans, according to the report.

"Although hardware or software problems may occur on occasion, MDTA’s tolling system has a robust real-time monitoring system that alerts to anomalies so that issues can be quickly identified and corrected to minimize any potential errors," transit officials wrote in a response to the audit.

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