HOUSTON -- Now may be a good time to check the balance on your TxDOT account.
Starting Thursday, the names of the agency’s habitual toll violators will be published on both the TxDOT and TxTag websites.
Officials say the agency is owed more than $27 million in unpaid tolls and that this could be a tool for getting delinquent drivers to pay.
But some drivers liken it to public shaming.
“That’s the equivalent of high school and the teacher trying to shame you for not doing any work,” motorist Terrence Coburn said. “That’s not going to make you want to do your work; it’s going to make you want to take out revenge on TxDOT.”
The agency claims some of the worst offenders are in Houston, where nearly 200,000 drivers owe on outstanding tolls.
A spokesman said the top violator in Houston owes nearly $30,000.
The changes are legal under a new Senate bill recently passed in Texas. In addition to releasing names, TxDOT also has the authority to ban the vehicles of delinquent drivers from toll roads.
TxDOT can also report habitual violators to county tax assessor-collectors to block their registration renewals.
Driver Lee Miller said the new list will be nothing more than “a list of deadbeats” but that it just might work.
Motorists have until noon Wednesday to settle their debts. The agency is willing to accept payment plans.