Del. G. Manoli Loupassi from Virginia is on a mission to end the practice of Virginia's Department of Transportation assessing a monthly fee on your E-ZPass.
VADOT started charging a monthly fee of 50 cents per month on regular transponders and $1 for Flex transponders last July. VADOT insists the fee is necessary to cover administration of the E-ZPass program, which allows users with transponders to use an open road tolling system. Other states also charge monthly fees that vary from 75 cents a month in Ohio to as much as $1.50 per month in Maryland. Indiana, New Jersey, and New York charge $1/mo. Pennsylvania assesses $3 per year.
The number of states that charge monthly fees for transponders is limited, and seven states that have transponder programs don't charge monthly fees on top of toll fares. Virginia is a state that already requires the largest first deposit of any state that offers transponders for tolling, some $35. Other states range from $10 to $30. Richard L. Walton of VDOT said the monthly fee is intended to cover the cost of operations of the E-ZPass.
Delegate G. Manoli Loupassi has created a bill to kill the monthly fee, "They want to make the citizens who got these things pay more than the people who cost more if they pay cash. That doesn’t make any sense." Loupassi suggests to VADOT that they add the program administration costs to the toll amount instead of charging a monthly fee. “All they want to do is get their nose in the tent,” Loupassi said. “Once they do it, they can raise it willy-nilly as they feel later on. This is a way for them to get more money out of us in a different way, and I don’t think that’s right.”
Before the fee plan, which started Sept. 1, the state’s E-ZPass system costs were recovered by charging toll facilities two fees: a fixed fee of 4.26 cents per toll transaction and 1.923 percent of the total revenue processed. Since Sept. 1, the department lowered the per-transaction fee that toll facilities pay the E-ZPass system by about a penny, to 3.35 cents.
The states that don't charge a monthly fee for open road tolling include Deleware, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.