Hank Silverberg, wtop.com
TYSONS CORNER, Va. - Virginia is planning to make it easier and cheaper to buy an E-ZPass.
The plan comes as the state gets ready to open miles of High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes along both Interstate 495 and Interstate 95 in the next few years. The only way to pay the new tolls in those new lanes in Virginia will be with an E-ZPass transponder.
The Virginia Department of Transportation is considering a plan that would make the transponder available at retail locations across the state for $35 with $15 dollars of that available to use right away for tolls. The other $20 could be used for tolls after the transponder is registered.
Unlike some other states including Maryland, there would be no monthly fee for E-ZPass and no charge for the actual transponder.
Maryland charges $9 for the transponder and $1.50 a month fee.
Currently the transponders are available only on the Dulles Toll Road, in Richmond and in the Hampton roads area. There is currently a $25 deposit required.
If the new proposal is approved, retail stores that would sell the transponders would be spread out in areas closer to the toll roads.
E-ZPass is good for tolls in Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and West Virginia.
It's estimated that demand in Virginia could go up by as much as a half million users once the HOT lanes open.
VDOT hopes to have the plan in place by the time the HOT lanes on I-495 open next year.
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