Hundreds line up to receive toll refunds at Oakwood Center

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wwltv.com

Posted on September 21, 2013 at 7:24 PM

Updated Sunday, Sep 22 at 2:04 AM

Monica Hernandez / Eyewitness News
Email: mhernandez@wwltv.com | Twitter: @mhernandezwwl

GRETNA, La. - Saturday's rain didn't stop hundreds of people from lining up to get a toll refund.

There are still millions of dollars left unclaimed.

The treasury department held the first of several visits to the metro area in an effort to return the money.

By the time Gretna's Oakwood Center officially opened at 10 Saturday morning, hundreds of people were already in line.

“I'm coming to collect my money from the toll tag,” said Lovella Davis Hill.

Over the course of the day, an estimated 1,500 people collected over $68,000 from the temporary toll refund center the treasury department set up at Oakwood Center.

People like Elizabeth Louding say the money they're getting back was worth the hour long wait.

“We're going to go shopping with it of course. We're putting it back into the economy so we can keep things going,” said Louding, who received a $58 refund.

It's all part of the treasury department's push to return money that "Geaux Pass" overpaid since the Crescent City Connection's tolls expired.

The treasury department returned more than $350,000 in toll refunds to over 10,000 people before Sunday’s event. But there are still millions of dollars owed to nearly 100,000 account holders.

“People need money, and no need to let your money go to waste,” said Shirley Rachal of Gretna.

The treasury department has streamlined the process since it took over the refund program in July. In most cases, you just need to fill out one form and have a copy of your driver's license.

“I've cut out as much red tape as I can and we're going to give folks their money back,” said state treasurer John Kennedy.

Kennedy estimated wait times were between 25 and 35 minutes, but several people who went through the process said they waited about an hour, but the lines moved relatively quickly for the number of people waiting.

Still, long lines scared off some.

“It was just jam packed so I decided I'll just try to do it online,” said Kenny St. John, who opted to watch the LSU game instead.

Others said they decided to come to the “mall day” because they were still working to get through red tape.

“I had sent in the paperwork [to the treasury department] and that's when I got the paperwork back saying I had to have it notarized and I had to have proof of my previous address, from 10 years ago. it just road blocks every time you try to do something,” said Robert Flannery, who lives in downtown New Orleans.

But most here say they're looking forward to getting a check in the mail with their refund.

“Sit back and wait for the mailman,” said Louding.

If you don't claim your toll refund by July 1 of next year, the DOTD will use it to help fund the ferries and bridge lights. Remember, you don't have to wait in line to get your toll refund.

You can simply print the necessary form from www.refundthetolls.com and mail it in.

Kennedy's office runs the toll refund program. If you have questions about the separate toll amnesty program, call the Department of Transportation at (877) 452-3683.

 

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