SEATTLE -- It’s been a sore spot for drivers for years: The hefty fines that come with forgetting to pay your tolls on the State Route 520 Bridge.
But the state has a deal for you.
If you agree to pay the tolls you owe, the state will waive all of your outstanding fines.
The phone has been ringing off the hook at the Washington State Department of Transportation's call centers since the program started Monday.
Cameron Milstead says he didn’t realize he owed the state $600 in tolls until a hold was put on his vehicle tabs.
“The mix-up was I never got anything in the mail," Milstead said.
With a $40 civil penalty for each late payment, that $600 toll bill turned into a whopping $7,500 fine.
“$7,500 is not chump change, not to me at least,” Milstead said.
So the news that WSDOT is waiving all civil penalties is beyond a relief.
“Happy to pay the tolls because I did cross the bridge, but civil penalties not going to happen,” Milstead said.
About 300,000 license plates right now owe civil penalties.
And it’s the driver's responsibility to call WSDOT if you want those fines forgiven.
“This is not a one-day opportunity or one week, this is our long-term program,” WSDOT Director of Toll Operations Patty Rubstello said.
WSDOT realizes that many drivers are confused. One of the biggest issues is old addresses.
“When they move, they have to update their driver’s license information. They don’t realize that is not the same database that deals with your vehicle registration,” Rubstello said.
The Department of Licensing uses the address on your vehicle registration to send toll bills in the mail.
WSDOT says first-time violators now have an automatic waiver, and if drivers mess up again, they have another deal.
If you give us a call and say, 'Boy, I messed up again', we are going to ask you to open a Good To Go! account,” Rubstello said.
If you get a Good To Go! account, WSDOT will forgive you again but if they hear from you a third time, there is no deal. The courts will be the only option then.
“I think it’s a good move to get people in the right direction,” Milstead said.
Milstead still believes the $40 late fee is too high, but that battle is perhaps for another day because, as of Tuesday, the $7,500 fine is gone.
“I was pretty excited,” Milstead said.
WSDOT says you can call or walk into any one of three customer service centers if you have outstanding fines.