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Va. Gov. Northam promises to end one E-ZPass headache

Gov. Northam is promising Virginians he will address the problem many are having with E-ZPass - the fact that their transponders can get downgraded or cost more when they aren't used in just six months' time. (WTOP/Hank Silverberg)

WASHINGTON — Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is promising to address a frustration for drivers that’s been amplified by the rise of express lanes.

Some drivers who only occasionally use the toll lanes — or HOV lanes that require an E-ZPass — could have their transponder downgraded or their account deactivated.

Under Virginia’s E-ZPass Customer Service Agreement, drivers who haven’t used their account for a toll payment for six months could have their account terminated.

E-ZPass Flex users who have gone six months without using the device in an HOV lane, when the trip would be free, can be required to switch to a regular E-ZPass or pay a $10 fee.

On WTOP’s Ask the Governor program Wednesday, Northam was asked about this by a listener, who called the policy “ridiculous.”

“If you don’t use it in six months they shut it off, if you don’t use the HOV option in six months they request it back,” the listener said.

Northam said he was made aware of the issue recently and said he had been affected as well.

“I don’t drive anymore and so I had some issues with my E-ZPass,” he said. “Stay tuned. We’re going to take care of this.”

Northam added that he had asked the state transportation secretary to look into the issue.

The Virginian-Pilot has reported that of the 16 states that use E-ZPass, Virginia and New Hampshire are the only two that deactivate accounts for nonuse in such a short amount of time.


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