VDOT Proposes Gouging E-ZPass Customers
The Virginia Department of Transportation is seeking to raise money for toll roads through a user tax on their best customers.
With Virginia’s E-ZPass program doubling over the next several years as new toll roads open, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is proposing a monthly fee of about $1 per transponder to pay for 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. However, there is a cost to providing the service to the participating toll facilities, most of which are not operated by VDOT. The Virginia E-ZPass program is being expanded to support several new toll facilities scheduled or expected to be opened over the next few years. The cost associated with the enhanced distribution and specialized services for the new facilities and additional transponders requires a new business model.
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
The fee would also help control costs and manage the selection and demand for E-ZPass transponders. The fee would be regularly evaluated to ensure that the charge is generating just enough revenue to maintain and operate the program without generating excess revenues above expenses.
*Customers of other banks, of course, are a different story.