Drivers without transponders dunned on untolled section of NC 540

Posted April 27, 2012

The Triangle Expressway in western Wake County offers two methods of toll collection.

— Although tolls won't be collected on N.C. Highway 540 until a new section of the Triangle Expressway opens in August, the North Carolina Turnpike Authority is billing drivers $5 for not using the electronic devices for collecting tolls.

Tolls are now collected only on a section of N.C. Highway 147 between Interstate 40 and N.C. 540. When N.C. 540 is extended from N.C. Highway 55 in Cary to U.S. Highway 64, tolls will start on the entire stretch of N.C. 540, including the section north of N.C. 55 to N.C. Highway 54.

Yet, the Turnpike Authority began sending letters this week to drivers who have purchased transponders for electronic collection of tolls but haven't mounted them on their windshields. The letters say the drivers are being billed $5 because the agency had to use its video toll-collection system on their vehicles.

The Triangle Expressway is designed to collect tolls either by debiting accounts linked to an N.C. QuickPass transponder or by snapping photos of license plates of vehicles without transponders and mailing monthly bills to owners.

Drivers with transponders pay a lower toll rate than those billed by mail.

“People have been purchasing transponders in order to save money while traveling on the Triangle Expressway, and we want to make sure they have their transponder mounted properly so they can receive the reduced rate," Turnpike Authority Director of Operations Barry Mickle said in a statement.

NC QuickPass sticker Drivers confused by bills on toll-free road

The bills are simply a reminder to drivers to put their transponders in their windshields, even if they're driving only on the untolled section of N.C. 540, officials said. That ensures the system can read the transponders correctly, and any problems can be fixed.

Transponders thought to be defective can be tested and repaired or replaced, officials said.

The Turnpike Authority will waive the $5 fee for driving on N.C. 540, as well as any charges racked up by a defective transponder, officials said.


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  • ohmygosh May 4, 2012

    I wonder how safe having these items "stuck" the the windshield are? They might become projectiles in a crash. Wouldn't it be something if the toll collectors got sued and lost big bucks because of such a defect.

  • kermit60 May 4, 2012

    NC Quick Pass. Amazing how they make it sound like they are doing you a favor by making it easier to take more money from you for a road that you have already paid taxes to build.

  • Gene Apr 30, 2012

    If the exorbitant gas taxes were used for highway repair instead of a slush fund for the state government there would be no need for a toll and we would have better roads.

  • Vietnam Vet Apr 30, 2012

    If y'all don't like tolls then don't use the toll road! I have no need to use it on a regular basis but have no problem paying for it when I do use it...

  • krankenstein111 Apr 30, 2012

    i dont know about you, but the approximately &140.00 a month it will cost me to drive from holly springs to rtp for work in my car, let alone what my wife would have to pay if she was to use it, is ridiculous! do you think us folks down here in holly springs and fuquay are filthy rich, with money to spare? you arent ending this freeway in manhatten, its a small country town, with a small country feel. and i dont believe anyone is gonna feel like spending that much money to drive to work. its not even shorter than driving US 1 to 40 W. though the traffic will be much lighter. but it isnt worth over a hundred dollars to me, and i think many others. So when this highway makes national news as the new "road to nowhere", and it becomes apparent that you will have to toll ALL of 540, dont tell me you didnt hear it here first. We are angry that all of this isnt being tolled, we left tolls up north because they were sick of them, and the southern folks down here dont like yankee stuff period!!

  • tarheelfan41 Apr 30, 2012

    Big brother is in full control. Where do they get off telling us ANYTHING about our travels on an untolled section? Incredible! Oh, btw, does ANYONE think for a minute the tolls will be used to pay for the road construction? Supposedly it was done in order to have the road built sooner than if we waited for funds to be available. 1)Will they EVER say the road is now paid for and the tolls disappear? 2)Will this turn into another way to pay political bureaucrats back for favors? 3) Just another tax on the citizens which will never go away?

  • harinootsak Apr 27, 2012

    Doesn't jibe. They claim the $5 surcharge is to cover costs of using the video tool-collection.
    Yet, I have received 2 invoices for 2 trips on the road. The first was for driving through the toll section. I believe it was $.77. The cost of the mailing, and the merchant account cost of allowing this to be paid via Visa is what is eating into their coffers.
    Then, I received an almost identical looking 'invoice' for driving on the yet to be tolled section. It had photo of license plate and a charge of $.00.
    One would think they would tweak that system rather than dropping a random surcharge on people who have not yet installed their toll device.
    How about letting it add up to maybe $10 before you ad hoc invoice? Ah well, welcome to the future of constant vehicle tracking and more daily intrusive government micro-taxing of their citizenry.

  • luv2surffish2 Apr 27, 2012

    nazi dot need to get some money cause they screwed this whole thing up biiiiiiiiiiiig time

  • Rebelyell55 Apr 27, 2012

    Well how ya'll liking that?