Stephanie L. Hansen
- District 10
This Senate Joint Resolution creates a one-time, Toll Violation Amnesty Program (Amnesty Program) to provide a 3 month long opportunity for people to satisfy toll debt that is in collection from toll violations that occurred on I-95 and SR 1. The Amnesty Program will collect funds that the State would probably otherwise never receive. Each year, the Department of Transportation collects over $190 million from over 70,600,000 toll transactions on I-95 and SR 1. However, Delaware is owed over $143.4 million in toll debt from unpaid tolls, penalties, and fees from toll violations on these highways. The most recent 3-year average collection rate of toll debt is 8.4%. In addition, financial incentives can increase the voluntary payment of fines and high administrative fees and financial costs have a disparate impact on people who are poor and can discourage people from making payments towards their toll debt. Under state law, each toll violation results in an administrative fee of $25.00; a civil penalty of $25.00; and for violations that occurred after January 31, 2017, a $10.00 fee for the Volunteer Ambulance Company Fund and a $15.00 fee for the Fund to Combat Violent Crimes. In addition, a civil penalty surcharge of $12.50 is added for each toll violation that remains unpaid after 42 days. Thus, a driver who fails to pay a $1.00 toll is initially assessed $51.00 in toll debt, which increases to $88.50 if it is not paid within an additional 42 days. The Amnesty Program is structured to collect at least as much revenue as Delaware collects annually in toll debt that is in collections. Toll violations that occurred on I-95 and SR 1 between January 1, 2014 through April 30, 2020 are eligible for the Amnesty Program and notice of the Amnesty Program will be provided to each person with eligible toll debt. The Amnesty Program will operate for 3 months. The Amnesty Program will not apply retroactively. To satisfy toll debt under the Amnesty Program, a person must pay the full amount of the tolls owed and an amnesty fee. The amnesty fee reduces the amount due from fees and penalties and is established under this Senate Joint Resolution in amounts based upon the number of toll violations included in the toll debt. For example, a person with 9 toll violations can satisfy their $796.50 toll debt by paying $69.00 and a person with 496 toll violations can satisfy their $43,896.00 toll debt by paying $1,306.00. Instead of a flat fee per violation, the Volunteer Ambulance Company Fund and the Fund to Combat Violent Crimes will each receive a portion of each amnesty fee that is collected during the Amnesty Program, and it is anticipated that each fund will receive a total payment that is equal to or greater than the amount these funds would anticipate receiving through the regular collections process.
Signed by Governor
Passed By House. Votes: 41 YES
Reported Out of Committee (Transportation/Land Use and Infrastructure) in House with 2 Favorable, 5 On Its Merits
Passed By Senate. Votes: 21 YES
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