Drivers want refunds on pre-paid CCC toll tags

Some motorists with money on pre-paid Crescent City Connection toll tags want that money back. But getting the money is proving to be frustrating to some drivers.

$3.8 million -- that's how much money Representative Patrick Connick (R-Marrero) says was paid by drivers in tolls on the Crescent City Connection from the beginning of this year up until March 5, when toll collection was suspended. When that decision was made, many drivers wanted to get back the money pre-paid on their toll tags.

Kim Hilton is one of those people. She explained, "When I called, the lady explained to me we'd have to fill out information stating why and a copy of my husband's drivers license.  And I said oh, that's no problem. She said also you have to fill out a form, W-9.  I said a W-9, really? We don't work for the state, what's that all about?"

Just two days before toll collection ceased, Hilton put $500 into her toll tag account. She was sent a form asking for her toll tag account number and name. She was also sent a W-9 form -- that's a form that DOTD says it's been sending out for years.

But Rep. Connick says he didn't know anything about it.  "I want to contact DOTD and I will contact them and say, 'What is the reasoning of this? Do we need to do it this way? Is there a better way?' And take it from there, but don't force these people to fill out a form like they're getting income when the only thing that's happening is their own money is being returned."

Hilton says she tries to avoid giving out her Social Security number for security reasons. So she's refusing to hand it over to the state.

It's a stand Rep. Connick agrees with, saying, "Don't give out your Social Security number. They should have it already, but there's no need to fill out a W-9."

Other divers have complained to FOX 8 about wait times for their refunds, saying they've been told they won't get their money until after the special election in May determines the ultimate fate of the tolls.  Hilton says she too was told this.

A spokeswoman for DOTD says there is no such rule in place, but employees may just be confused about all of the recent changes with the Crescent City Connection.  Bambi Hall adds that the W-9 is required by law and is needed for auditing purposes. It's also needed, she says, to make sure the person wanting the refund is the person who actually received it.