If you're upset about the E-Z Pass $.50 fee, you're not alone. Governor McAuliffe is joining in your battle. Drivers have been speaking out about the fee for more than a year. Now, the new Governor is helping shape a new proposal to do away with that fee altogether.
Drivers with E-Z Passes told us they buy transponders for the convenience. Instead of stopping at a toll, you can ride straight through. As it stands now - customers with them pay more than those who just use change. Some lawmaker says that was never the intent.
When in a rush, convenience makes travel easy.
"No stopping, no change. Before I had it, it was a real pain," one driver said.
Transponders help you get from point A to point B - eliminating the middle man of having to pay a person.
Delegate Manoli Loupassi says that was supposed to be an incentive.
"When they first came up with this if you had an E-Z Pass, you paid less than the people who paid tolls....so it's cheaper to have automation. So if it's cheaper to have automation, then why are you going to be charging me more than the people using the coins?" the lawmaker questioned.
He's referring to the 50 cent a month maintenance charge E-Z Pass customers began paying to VDOT in 2012. Now Governor McAuliffe is working with lawmakers to eliminate it.
"You already paid the $35. Really, it's not $35 if you're gonna add tax to it," said Charles Marks.
Thursday, VDOT officials said they are simply enforcing the state's law by charging this 50 cent fee, but the proposed new legislation would give VDOT until September to find a way to get rid of it.
Senate Bill 156 also calls for a better way of distributing transponders to customers. Right now, VDOT handles that. There are talks the DMV could get involved.
"Don't find 10 different ways to get me. Don't nickel and dime me, just charge me for the toll and I'll pay it," Loupassi added.
Some Virginia drivers admitted purchasing E-Z Passes from other states to bypass the monthly fee. Now, there are mixed emotions.
"50 cents. We can scrape that out of our pocket but if I don't see the results then I have a problem with the fee," Lashonda White said.
"For the convenience, the 50 cents a month was well worth it," another driver added.
Delegate Loupassi tried to pass similar legislation last year but it failed in committee. This new bill will be heard in a transportation committee Friday.
Loupassi is hoping with the Governor behind it this time, it could gain traction.
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