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VDOT Weighing Monthly Fee for E-ZPass

Motorists: Give your opinion to the agency by June 12.

Virginia E-ZPass, the Department of Transportation program that gives automatic transponders to motorists to speed up travel at toll booths, is considering a $1 monthly fee to cover administrative and operations costs.

In an e-mail to E-ZPass customers, program administrators said the number of users is expected to double over the next several years as new toll roads open. The fee will help cover administrative and operations costs.

"VDOT has the utmost understanding that E-ZPass operations brings
convenience and efficiency to toll operations. E-ZPass allows for electronic toll collection at Virginia toll facilities and lessens the need for manual collection," the email said. "However, there is a cost to providing the service to the participating toll facilities, most of which are not operated by VDOT."  

The proposed monthly fee would cover costs for: Buying nearly one-half million transponders; implementing a retail program where transponders can be obtained at various stores in Northern Virginia and eventually Hampton Roads; providing service at select DMV locations; upgrading information technology to accommodate the expanded program; account management and processing of toll transactions (managing billing of all transactions); customer service and the operations of three customer service centers.

VDOT is accepting comments on the proposed monthly fee through June 12 at 5 p.m. It expects to have a decision later in June.

All comments will be reviewed and taken into consideration prior to the final decision on the proposed fee structure, VDOT said.

To comment: Go to www.virginiadot.org/e-zpass or submit
your comments directly to vdotinfo@vdot.virginia.gov. Or, mail them to: Office Communications ­Third Floor/Annex Bldg. Virginia Department of Transportation, 1401 E. Broad St. Richmond, VA 23219

Peter Paul van Dijk June 01, 2012 at 02:27 PM
What annoys me is that VDOT is proposing to charge customers a flat fee indefinitely for budget items that are discrete and finite, or should fairly be charged elsewhere . Purchasing another half million transponders should be recouped through a higher deposit. Setting up retail networks and service at DMV should incur minimal extra costs - shopkeepers should welcome additional customers into their shops. DMV is another branch of VA govt, and well, we give them a wide berth anyway. Managing billing of transactions -- well, the beauty of EZPass is that there are minimal physical billing costs. But VDOT trying to recover costs, from subscribers, for its providing toll collection services for participating tollbooths not operated by VDOT takes the cake - if 3rd-party operators represent a net cost to VDOT, then they should charge those third-party operators - not the people who reliably maintain a positive balance in their EZPass accounts and whose sliver of interest goes to VDOT. For the amount of use we give our transponder, I can afford the time and extra fuel to avoid the tollway, or go through a cash lane with a roll of quarters and dollars, to save that $12 per year.
johnson June 01, 2012 at 03:14 PM
So they interest earned from or EZpass balance isn't enough.
Ramias June 03, 2012 at 02:18 AM
This is offensive. If the costs of EZPass transponders has risen, charge that cost when new transponders are issued to new customers. If it is expensive to add EZ Pass to the new beltway HOT lanes, then charge higher fees to the HOT operator (who will then have to raise tolls). It is bad enough that users commuting from Kingstowne to Reston have to pay high tolls on the Dulles Toll Road in order to pay for Metro to make commutes easier for wealthy suburbanites, but now sticking an "admin" fee -- even to those with little to no usage in any given month, is offensive. Everybody -- be sure to make your feelings known to VDOT.
arlene butler June 05, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Putting a monthly charge on to my inconsistent use of ezpass is an unfair burden. To have to pay $12 a year to be able to pay the few tolls that I use I think is highway robbery! Apparently the tolls before the EZ Pass, included enough money to be able to pay people to staff the toll collection booths & the administrative costs. Where's that money? The savings should be allocated to fund EZPASS. Where's the money that sits in your coffers that has been charged to my credit card that I have not used yet? Aren't you investing that money & then spending it after the toll road has been used? I can only imagine the huge amount of money that should be in this aspect of the tolls unused. What happens to the money that is unclaimed when someone stops using the transponder because it breaks or gets lost & the customer does not claim it? You are making money off of EZPASS! Do you really need to fleece more money off the customer??? Aren’t you having more ways to collect the tolls with the transponders and why not make that your priority than to collect another toll to collect the tolls! I do not want to have to pay the same amount per year as the person that uses the toll roads everyday when I MAY only use them several times a month! I don’t think the frequent user should have to pay either. I believe the cost of the program is already built into the tolls that are currently charged. This is greed on steroids! You are smart people….find another way.
sam June 12, 2012 at 01:22 PM
In actuality the government is going down a very slippery slope. Essentially they are forcing citizens to pay a premium for efficiency. So now the government has an incentive to cause traffic issues so that individuals will pay to avoid traffic. This same policy is being imposed on the express lanes on 495. The government is essentially saying we will cause traffic issues in certain areas in order to increase revenues by offering the ability to go around traffic for a fee.

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