OK-SAFE, Inc. – This past June researcher Vicky Davis traveled from Idaho to Oklahoma. This road trip involved traveling through the Denver area of Colorado.
Davis used cash and credit cards on her trip and paid all the tolls she encountered along the way. Or, at least she thought she did.
A month after driving around Denver, Davis received a surprise in the mail – a bill for traveling on Denver’s E-470 electronic toll highway. According to Davis, she couldn’t even tell she was on a toll road.
From Wikipedia’s description: “E-470 is a 47-mile-long (76 km) controlled-access toll road traversing the eastern portion of the Denver-Aurora Metropolitan Area in the US state of Colorado. The toll road is not a state highway, but is instead maintained by the E-470 Public Highway Authority, which is controlled by a governing board of ten elected officials, three from each county and one from Aurora. Construction and operation involves no state or federal funding or taxes.”
Toll Fees Surprisingly High
The Denver locals may know E-470 is an all electronic toll highway system accepting no cash. Visitors don’t know this – the surprise comes later in the mail.
Continued from the Wikipedia description, “The toll rate on E-470, roughly 33 cents per mile, is one of the highest rates of any toll road in the United States. There are six toll stations along the 47-mile (76 km) route and the average toll to pass each is $3.00. Traveling the entire length of the road from I-25 in the north to I-25 in the south can cost in excess of $14.00 one way. The toll stations no longer accept cash…”
License Plate Toll Billing Process
E-470 utilizes a license plate toll billing process, put into effect in August 2012. Every vehicle that accesses E-470 has the license plate photographed for billing purposes. E-470’s tolling policy is described here. This license plate billing process is explained here.
Within days of getting the first notice, Davis received a 2nd notice, assessing an astonishing 50% late fee on top of the original toll bill.
It would be nice for travelers to be forewarned about how E-470 works in enough time to choose an alternative route and avoid the license plate cameras, the hassle, and the exorbitant toll fees.
The E-470 toll scheme is a Ricky Mountain high travelers can do without.
Stealth Tolling Equals Criminal Racketeering – Vicky Davis’ letter Public Highway Authority
September 7, 2012
Public Highway Authority
P.O. Box 5470
Denver, CO 80217-5470
In June of this year, I did go on a trip passing through Colorado. In July, I received a bill for $9.45 for allegedly driving on a toll road. I did not drive through a tollbooth. I did not see a sign that said “entering toll road”. I did not see an exit that said, “if you entered this toll road accidentally, exit here”. I did not in any affirmative way agree to pay a toll for driving on a road in Colorado. Because of this, I consider your toll road to be an ambush racket.
Despite the fact that I consider your Public Highway Authority to be engaged in racketeering, I debated whether or not to pay it. It was only $10.00 and in this day and age of rampant public corruption, deception and organized crime under the color of law, there is only so much time in the day so one has to choose their battles. I decided to just pay it and not bother with you people but when I opened the second bill and you added a $5.00 late fee, I changed my mind. You proved me right. You are engaged in criminal racketeering and I’ll not contribute one penny to it. You may stick this bill in your round file.
I won’t be traveling through Colorado ever again and I’m going to issue a travel advisory on my website to warn unsuspecting travelers that Colorado is a state to be avoided.
Vicky L. Davis
Statement Numbers: 1145416454
Other Tolling Incidents in Colorado
This website is collecting Colorado tolling incidents – looks like the stealth tolling is effecting a lot of travelers:
List of toll roads in Colorado:
Travelers should avoid using E-470 to get around Denver. Keep your money, find and use an alternative, less expensive route around the city. Or better yet, stay out of Denver in the first place and really save some money.