Virginia's E-ZPass Fee Prompts Outcry From Lawmaker | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Virginia's E-ZPass Fee Prompts Outcry From Lawmaker

Play associated audio
Cars using the E-ZPass express lanes as they approach the New Jersey Turnpike.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mpd01605/3649510770/
Cars using the E-ZPass express lanes as they approach the New Jersey Turnpike.

The Virginia Department of Transportation says new E-ZPass customers will now have to pay to sign up for the toll service, and current customers will have to pay 50 cents a month for the service.

The state intends to open more toll roads in the not-too-distant future, and VDOT sees this new fee structure as a way to raise millions each year to pay for operating the E-ZPass system.

But Del. Manoli Loupassi says when he heard what VDOT planned to do, he warned its commissioner that it was a bad idea, and if they moved forward he would introduce legislation.

"I mean, it just says you can't do monthly fees," he says. "If there are costs associated with having E-ZPasses, you put it in the toll."

Despite that warning and public outcry, however, VDOT decided to restructure the fees.

"I'm actually very surprised that they said 'Well, we'll just take half an apple right now and get everybody later,' says Loupassi. "That's basically what they've done."

He says people were initially lured into buying the transponders not only because of the convenience of avoiding long toll lines, but also because users were supposed to pay a lower toll than those without. He says it saves costs to not have to pay people to operate automated facilities, so there's no strong argument for raising fees now.

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, July 30

You can keep things old school with a classic musical and an exhibit featuring watercolor paintings from the 1800s.
NPR

Farming The Bluefin Tuna, Tiger Of The Ocean, Is Not Without A Price

Scientists are trying to raise prized bluefin tuna completely in captivity. An experiment at a Baltimore college is the first successful attempt in North America.
NPR

Senate's Highway Trust Fund Bill Sets Up Conflict With The House

A short-term fix for the nearly empty Highway Trust Fund is a step closer to President Obama's desk. Congress has been talking about the long-term problems with the construction account, but the two chambers have not agreed on a long-term solution.
NPR

OkCupid Sometimes Messes A Bit With Love, In The Name Of Science

OkCupid, the online dating site, disclosed Monday that they sometimes manipulate their users' profiles for experiments.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.