Tom Warne Report, 20 July 2012
Virginia – The Virginia Department of Transportation is modifying plans to charge monthly E-ZPass fees as the agency expands its cashless toll system. Initially planning to charge $1 per month for each transponder, fees will range from 50 cents to $1 depending on the type of transponder. Existing customers will only pay if they add or replace their device.
VDOT officials say they need the money generated by the fees to install E-ZPass on toll lanes being added to the cashless grid, such as managed express lanes on I-495 and I-95, the Jordan Bridge, and the Downtown and Midtown Tunnel system extension.
Currently, 24 states use the E-ZPass network, and Virginia will become the 15th to implement monthly fees in addition to toll fees. The monthly fee schedule will begin Sept. 1, and VDOT is waiving the $25 transponder deposit for new customers. New users will still be required to “pre-pay” $35 worth of tolls when they sign up for a new E-ZPass account.
VDOT is also offering “E-ZPass Flex” transponders for drivers who carpool on the I-495 express lanes and the future I-95 express lanes, who will not have to pay the $1 monthly fee if they use the carpool lanes exclusively. The agency is hoping to add 500,000 users by March 2013 to the current total of 560,000 users.