Herring, Minchew Oppose E-ZPass Fee
VDOT has proposed a $1 monthly fee for administrative and operations costs.
A monthly $1 fee proposed by the Virginia Department of Transportation for E-ZPass transponders has proven to be an item that Democrats and Republicans representing Loudoun can agree on.
State Sen. Mark Herring (D-33) and Del. Randy Minchew—who each represents parts of Loudoun and at least a small part of Ashburn—have issued messages to constituents urging them to weigh in the fee proposal by 5 p.m. today.
The monthly fee would apply to each transponder held by customers.
The messages from Herring and Minchew are included below:
From Herring’s office:
State Senator Mark Herring (D-Loudoun & Fairfax) has written to the Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Transportation Greg Whirley expressing his strong opposition to VDOT’s proposal to charge a monthly fee of $1.00 per EZ Pass transponder in order to pay for administrative and operations costs of Virginia’s EZ Pass program. See below the text of Senator Herring’s email to VDOT Commissioner Whirley:
I write to express my strong opposition to VDOT’s proposal to charge a $1.00 monthly fee per EZ Pass transponder. Many of the constituents I represent travel along the Dulles Greenway and Dulles Toll Road on a daily basis. Tolls on the Greenway are already at $4.00 ($4.80 peak) for a one-way trip and $2.25 on the Dulles Toll Road for a total of $6.25 ($7.05 peak). Additionally, tolls along the Dulles Toll Road are projected to double to $4.50 beginning next year due to the construction of Phase 2 of the Dulles Rail Project. If that occurs, tolls for a one-way trip from Leesburg to Tysons Corner will be $8.50 ($9.30 peak). Round trip, that is a total of $17.00 ($18.60 peak), which equates to $85.00 per week ($93.00 peak) and $4,250 annually ($4,650 peak).
As you can see, the charges for tolls the constituents I represent pay is becoming outrageous and adding a $1.00 per month fee for the privilege of being tolled this high only adds injury to insult. I urge you, Secretary Connaughton and the Governor to reverse your position and reject this proposal.
Thank you for your consideration,
Senator Herring is also urging citizens to participate in the public comment period. VDOT is currently accepting public comments through 5:00 pm, Tuesday, June 12, 2012. All comments will be reviewed and taken into consideration prior to the final decision on the proposed fee structure. VDOT began taking comments on April 19, 2012.
Citizens can go to www.virginiadot.org/e-zpass for information on the proposed monthly fee increase and provide their comments online. They can submit their comments directly to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to:
Office of Communications – Third Floor/Annex Bldg.
Virginia Department of Transportation
1401 E. Broad St.
Richmond, VA 23219
VDOT expects to have a final decision in June.
From Minchew’s office:
Dear Friends and Constituents of Virginia's 10th District,
As you may have heard, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is considering a new charge of $1.00 per month for EZ Pass transponder issued to Virginia motorists.
At a time when we are being constantly barraged with government fees and surcharges, it is highly disappointing that VDOT is even considering this flawed concept which is functionally a surcharge on top of a toll.
To me, this is like a restaurant adding a service fee onto the bills of its best customers.
EZ Pass transponder users save the Commonwealth money by reducing the need for toll booth attendants and help facilitate traffic flows along our toll roads. As such, they should be rewarded, not penalized. Remember back when you used to get a toll road discount for using your EZ Pass/ Smart Tag? Well, we should return to those days.
Sure, there is a cost in administering the EZ Pass transponder system. But, these costs should be included in the overall toll road system as a worthy administrative cost.
VDOT is accepting public comments on this flawed proposal through 5:00 pm TODAY, June 12, 2012.
I would urge you to comment.
You can go to www.virginiadot.org/e-zpass for information on the proposed monthly fee increase and provide your comments online. You can also email your comments directly to email@example.com.
J. Randall Minchew
Member, Virginia House of Delegates
Loudoun, Clarke, and Frederick Counties