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El Paso toll road tags no longer sold at payday lender, Ace Cash Express

By Maria Garcia, MariaG@kvia.com.
Staff Report
Published On: Jan 22 2014 11:57:25 AM CST
Updated On: Feb 18 2014 04:15:05 PM CST
Cesar Chavez Express Toll Lanes

The new toll lanes on Loop 375 are now open. Motorists can try them for free until Jan. 10, 2014.

EL PASO, Texas -

The Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority (CRRMA) voted unanimously on Wednesday morning to stop selling toll tags for the new Loop 375 toll lanes at ACE Cash Express stores in El Paso.

Instead, the tags will soon be sold at the City of El Paso's one-stop-shop facility at 811 Texas Ave. in Downtown El Paso. The one-stop-shop is a city facility that allows residents to pay for several permits in one place.

The decision to end the sale of tags at ACE stemmed from community feedback from people who are concerned payday lenders provide predatory lending and take advantage of the poor.

"This is a community driven entity. We are all - the board members are all El Pasoans, they're invested in this community and they're invested in doing what's best for the community," said Raymond Telles, the CRRMA's Executive Director.

ACE representatives have told ABC-7 the company provides necessary cash to people who don't qualify for conventional loans.

An Ace representative asked the CRRMA board to reconsider selling the tags only at the city's building downtown instead of the Ace stores around the city. "You've got traffic issues, you've got parking issues. We offer convenient locations - community based that allow your residents to get a toll tag. The convenience of this cannot be underestimated."

Telles said he's going to research other locations in different parts of the city where the tags can be sold - possibly in City or County facilities.

The CRRMA partnered with the North Texas Tollway Authority to sell the tags online, on the phone, through the mail and in person. The NTTA had an existing partnership with ACE Cash Express in North Texas, hence the CRRMA's initial decision to sell the tags at ACE as well.

The CRRMA is not equipped to sell toll tags on its own because it has a staff of one: Telles. The CRRMA will keep the online, phone and mail component provided by the NTTA.

Telles said he's also going to research the cost and logistics of providing an exemption to disabled veterans and Purple Heart and Medal of Honor recipients who use the toll lanes so they won't have to pay. He should have more information by the February meeting, Telles said.

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