By BRAD KELLAR
Even as plans were unveiled earlier this month for a proposed new toll road between Greenville and Lavon, two area residents remained on the list of the top toll violators in Texas.
The tally of the Top 100 Toll Violators was updated by the North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA) on December 6.
The list allegedly reveals those individuals who owe the agency the most for having traveled toll roads in the region without paying tolls.
Patricia Smith of Greenville and Jeffrey West of Rockwall have remained on the list since it was first released during the summer.
Smith is at number 26 on the list, reportedly owing the NTTA $102,659.78.
West is holding down the number 83 spot and according to the agency owes $81,475.65.
The number one violator on the agency’s list is Melissa S. Martinez of Sachse, who allegedly owes the NTTA $151,757.07.
A complete list of the violators and what they owe is listed on the NTTA’s web site at www.ntta.org.
According to the NTTA web site, the agency’s pay-by-mail system begins when a motorist without a TollTag travels through designated tolling points and a digital image of the vehicle’s license plate is captured.
A ZipCash invoice for the toll payment is sent to the registered owner of the vehicle. Failure to pay a ZipCash bill results in additional fees to counter the cost of collection.
Customers who refuse to pay a ZipCash invoice are subject to a criminal citation and could be required to appear in court.
The NTTA announced it has referred a randomly selected portion of the violators to outside legal counsel for possible legal action, including civil lawsuits.
A private company, the Texas Turnpike Corporation, approached the Greenville City Council earlier this month about a plan to build a new toll road across North Texas.
Phase 1 of the project would be a privately owned and built toll road which would cover approximately 24 miles between just west of Greenville and Lavon in Collin County, along a portion of the Northeast Texas Rural Rail Transportation District (NETEX) right-of-way.
The right-of-way will be secured through a long term ground lease agreement between the Texas Turnpike Corporation (TTC) and NETEX from just west of Greenville through the cities of Josephine and Nevada, to just west of State Highway 278 in Lavon.
The TTC is proposing to build a limited access four lane divided toll road in and along the right-of-way, leaving room for NETEX’s rail restoration plan in the future, in order to help relieve congestion along Interstate 30 between Rockwall County and Dallas County.
Phase 2 of the project, between State Highway 78 and the President George Bush Turnpike will be planned and constructed in the future.