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SOUTHLAKE - The North Texas Tollway Authority is apologizing for incorrectly charging customers on its new DFW Connector during what was billed as a 'free' six weeks of use after its opening.

'It came to our attention last week,' said NTTA spokesman Michael Rey.

He said they believe the error happened while workers tested the tolling system from May 26 through July 6. The NTTA and the Texas Department of Transportation originally announced that for the first six weeks of operation, there would be no tolls on the DFWConnector.

But the system billed 41,362 customers for a total of 192,000 transactions, adding up to $171,000 in unexpected charges.

Driver Jesus Valadez commutes through the four-mile stretch of TEXpress lanes running between International Parkway and State Highway 26. Once it opened, he figured he'd check it out at no cost.

'It was free, so I might as well,' Valadez said. 'I saw that it was empty, so it made it a stress-free morning and afternoon commute.'

The stress came later when he checked his bill.

'I was actually on Facebook and I saw people talking about, 'Hey, we got charged on this lane,' so I went to mine, I logged in, and I saw all these recent charges,' Valadez said.

There they were, at a dollar a pop, every time he traveled on the new toll road.

The NTTA has already started refunding Valadez and the many customers who were wrongly charged. Their spokesman said they expect to refund all of the tolls by the end of this week.

If you do not get your money refunded by that time, please contact the NTTA from this link.

E-mail msaavedra@wfaa.com

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