OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (OTA) said it is expected to lose millions of dollars while they work out the kinks in its new PlatePay program.
The authority wants drivers to know if they don’t have your address, that does not mean there’s not a hefty bill waiting for you.
“We knew this was going to happen,” said Joe Echelle, the deputy director of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority.
Drivers don’t have to stop and pay the toll anymore on most Oklahoma turnpikes. Instead, a camera takes a picture of your license plate and sends you a bill.
However, the new OTA PlatePay program is going through some growing pains.
The OTA can’t send you a bill without knowing where to send it. That means several charges will go unpaid.
“That means we have to charge everyone else just a little bit more,” said Echelle.
Echelle said the authority expects to miss out on $10 million because of blocked or altered license plates.
“People pulling a trailer, the the license plate has mud on it or snow in the wintertime,” said Echelle, while giving an example.
“Altered can mean, just somebody using a black magic marker to change a ‘3’ to an ‘8,’” said Tim Gatz, the Secretary of Transportation during a Tuesday OTA meeting.
The OTA said it expects to lose $7 million because of newly purchased cars with dealership tags.
“There’s no way for us to look up the owner of a of a paper license plate. It’s a temporary tag,” said Echelle.
Echelle said the OTA will also lose $11 million to unregistered plates, which includes tribal plates, other than Chickasaw and Choctaw because they get their tags through the state.
“We have lost $4.7 million that we can’t read. Tribal license plates. They’re not in our system. That means they’re driving on our turnpikes without paying the the toll that everybody else does,” said Governor Kevin Stitt at a Monday press conference.
“It’s not the tribe’s fault,” said Echelle. “They’re sovereign and they have the issue that some of them issue their own license plates. We don’t have access to that.”
Right now, the OTA is working on agreements with those tribes.
Meanwhile, the OTA needs you to register your information here, because whether it’s now or later, a bill is coming.
“If you have a tribal plate and we’re taking a picture of it, it’s going into a bucket. for certain individuals, has already exceeded $700 just in the last two months,” said Echelle.
The OTA said using a PikePass, instead of waiting to be billed, will lower your costs by 50%.