E-ZPass Drops Proposed $1 Fee for Existing Customers
A proposal to charge $1 to all users was dropped in favor of fees on new customers; transponder deposits also nixed.
A proposal by the Virginia Department of Transportation to apply a $1 fee to all E-ZPass users in the state has been altered and will exclude existing customers — at least until they replace their transponders.
The fees were initially proposed to take effect July 1, but the new fee structure has been delayed until Sept. 1.
Several state legislators and commuters balked at the plan to charge everyone using a transponder a $1 monthly fee, and VDOT ultimately relented by focusing fees instead on new users and customers who replace their transponders.
Tolls and related fees have become a particular concern of drivers along the Dulles Toll Road because those fares are expected to rise significantly to pay for Metro’s Silver Line project.
Customers who have active accounts as of July 9, 2012 will not be charged the fee unless they replace or add a transponder, at which point a 50-cent monthly fee will apply. All new customers will pay 50-cents per month per transponder. Those fees begin Sept. 1, 2012.
“The fee structure was established after careful consideration of public input balanced with the need to cover VDOT’s rising costs to provide Virginia’s E-ZPass program,” said VDOT Commissioner Greg Whirley. “I directed VDOT to consider several options and chose the one that was the most reasonable, splitting the costs between the customers and the toll facilities. It will help manage the demand for both standard and Flex transponders without imposing the monthly fee on existing E-ZPass customers until they need a new or replacement transponder.”
The existing $25 deposit for new transponders will also be eliminated under the new fee structure. For existing customers, the deposit will convert to prepaid tolls when transponders are replaced, or be returned when accounts are closed. New customers must still pay $35 in pre-paid tolls when obtaining a transponder.
The fees were proposed to pay for administrative program costs. Some states such as New Jersey have charged E-Z pass holders a $1 monthly fee for several years.
E-ZPass transponders enable drivers to pass through tolls without stopping and work on all Virginia toll roads. The following Northern Virginia roads have tolls on them:
- Dulles Toll Road (operated by Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority)
- Dulles Greenway (privately owned and operated by TRIP II)
- 495 Express Lanes – open by end of year (to be operated by Transurban)
- 95 Express Lanes – scheduled to begin construction this year (to be operated by Transurban)
In addition, drivers who opt for a Flex transponder, which can be used on I-495’s Express Lanes now under construction, will be assessed a $1 monthly fee beginning Jan. 1, 2013 when the lanes open; Flex customers will pay 50-cents between Sept. 1, 2012, and Jan 1, 2013. For Flex customers, the fee will be waived for drivers who exclusively use the transponder in “HOV” mode, meaning three or more people are carpooling.