Proposed law would block new E-Z Pass fee

Posted at 11:56 PM, Jul 16, 2012
and last updated 2012-07-17 13:52:58-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)— A delegate who represents parts of Chesterfield, Richmond and Henrico is trying to make it so that VDOT will never be able to charge such a fee.

Thousands voiced their concern over the Virginia Department of Transportation’s proposed monthly fee on E-ZPass transponders, which caused the department to rethink their fee structure.

“We got a pass, that's enough.  We don't need another monthly fee in there to be taken out,” said Rita Williams from Chesterfield.

Delegate Manoli Loupassi, R-68th District, has decided to take action in the Virginia General Assembly.

"My legislation would stop them from having any monthly fee on those transponders,” said Loupassi.

On Monday, Loupassi filed a bill that would prevent VDOT from charging customers a monthly fee for use of any automated pay program on Virginia toll roads.

Monthly fees aimed at creating revenue for maintenance or expansion of toll facilities, like the originally proposed $1 monthly fee on EZ Pass transponders, would be eliminated.

“They’re using this as a way to get more money out of us in a different way.  And to me, I'm against that,” said Loupassi.

In a letter sent to VDOT Commissioner Greg Whirly in June, Louspassi warned he would propose legislation like this on the monthly fee on transponders.  He said in the letter he expects his legislative colleagues will support his efforts.

VDOT expects rising operational costs in the coming years for the EZ pass system due to an increase in number of users and the expansion of toll booths across the Commonwealth.

Under VDOT’s reworked fee structure, existing customers will pay a fifty-cent monthly fee once they replace their existing transponder.

Any new customer will pay the fifty-cent monthly fee when they open a new account.

VDOT officials would not comment at this time on Loupassi's bill.

"I think that once they institute them, they're going to here from an awful lot more people than just the people that where opposed to them in the first place,” said Loupassi.  “I think it's going to a hundred times worse.”

"Everyday, I go through the 76 [toll booth] and the 288 [toll booth],” said Zita Williams.

E-ZPass is a major part of Williams’ daily life that she wished she didn't have to worry about.

“What's the E-ZPass?  That's real minor,” she said.  “We've got other things to think about.”

VDOT's new fee structure takes effect Sept. 1 of this year.