Express Lanes cheaters face fines

Hank Silverberg,

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Enforcement will be tight when the new Express Lanes open later this year on Interstate 495 in Virginia.

The toll lanes will go online before the end of the year, allowing cars with E- ZPass transponders to ride the new lanes for a fee.

Virginia State Police will step up patrols to catch cheaters.

Jennifer Aument, a vice president at Transurban, which will operate the Express Lanes, says drivers who don’t have an E-ZPass transponders will be caught.

“If you go in the toll gantry and enter the Express Lanes and you don’t have an E- ZPass in your vehicle, cameras will catch your front and rear license plate and we will send you a toll invoice,” says Aument.

That invoice will include the toll and $1.50 administrative fee.

Drivers can then pay it online. But if they don’t do so, the fees could increase and they could face fines.

“Under Virginia law, penalties for violations for both toll and HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) range from $50 up to $1,000 for repeat offenders,” Aument says.

Carpoolers must have the E-ZPass Flex transponder, which has a special switch to turn on when they are carrying three or more passengers. With at least three passengers, they can travel for free. Motorcycles also can travel for free.

Toll rates will range from $3 to $6 in rush hour with the rate posted on digital signs at each entrance.

Once in the lane, the toll amount stays the same until drivers exit.

But it could change every few minutes so cars behind you could pay more, or less.

All of this is explained in detail on the Express Lanes website.

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