NJ drivers take it on the chin as judge rules on E-ZPass charges
I had high hopes for this lawsuit, but a Superior Court judge rejected his assertion that the $50 administrative fee charged by the Toll Highway Authority for toll violations was appropriate.
The lawsuit, filed in 2017 by two out-of-state drivers, claimed the fees were excessive since it did not cost the agency $50 to collect the missed tolls. It always seemed crazy to me that a missed $3 toll could turn into a $50 fine; I always thought the fee was just a fine, but the judge disagreed.
According to the New Jersey 101.5 report, Superior Court Judge Alberto Rivas, sitting in Middlesex County, ruled that the fees were “neither arbitrary nor capricious” and “fairly represent the cost incurred by the NJTA in processing and collect a toll violation”.
Administrative costs had risen from $25 to $50 in 2011 and the lawsuit claimed that since then the drivers had been overcharged by approximately $186 million, since, according to the lawsuit, it only took about $25 to deal with toll violations.
“The $50 administrative fee is neither a fine nor unauthorized ‘profit’,” Rivas said. “The NJTA’s efforts to collect a toll without assessing an administrative fee were credibly evidenced during the hearing.”
The Appeals Division will now consider the case, according to plaintiffs’ attorney. Both drivers also filed a federal lawsuit which has been put on hold until the state’s case is resolved, so I guess there’s still hope that New Jersey drivers can get a break on those expensive fees.
The views expressed in the above post are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle only.
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