The Texas Department of Transportation [TxDOT] looks silly again today, but considering their actions over the last couple of years, they're probably used to that now.
Last month, they started collecting tolls on the new toll road just north of the DFW metroplex -- Texas 121. The new toll road does not have collection booths. If you don't have a toll tag, the system just takes a picture of your license plate and then mails you a bill. I guess this might work out for people who drive a good distance, but what about those who drive only a short distance on the toll road?
Recently, 72-year old Don Ferguson received his bill from TxDOT for using the toll road -- it was a bill for 25 cents. The problem with this is that it cost the state 30.8 cents to mail the bill, and Mr. Ferguson is not the only person this has happened to. Several people have complained of receiving a 25 cent bill in a metered envelope costing 30.8 cents to mail, including TxDOT spokesman Mark Ball. When these people pay their fee, the state of Texas will have lost nearly 6 cents on each transaction.
Just think, what if most drivers on Texas 121 go only a short distance? Could the state actually lose more in postage than it collects in fees? Even worse, is this the level of competence we can expect on other toll roads being planned?