Governor-Elect to announce new tunnel toll relief plan after inauguration

Posted at 7:14 PM, Dec 20, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-20 19:14:40-05

As we count down to the New Year, we are also counting down to the start of tunnel tolls!

Today, Governor-Elect Terry McAuliffe's team confirmed to NewsChannel 3 they are working to make those toll costs more affordable for Virginia families, and will release a final plan after McAuliffe’s inauguration.

Still, you will have to pay something, and a special holiday offer could help bring down the cost of an EZ-Pass.

With Christmas approaching, last-minute shoppers are not just visiting malls, but also local EZ-Pass offices.

Tolls go into effect at the Downtown and Midtown Tunnels on February 1st--only 42 days away.

“Folks are coming in, getting their EZ-Pass, and we've seen steadily growing numbers,” said Leila Rice of Elizabeth River Crossings. “People are getting the message.”

In order to give people a reason to buy before the New Year, Elizabeth River Crossings is running a holiday special.

Get your EZ-Pass transponder before January 3rd, and you get 5 free trips through the tunnels, no matter if you have a small car or a big truck.

“We don't want people to spend more than they need to get through the tunnels,” said Rice.

If you don't have an EZ-Pass, you will be paying almost three times as much to travel the same road.

With an EZ-Pass, each tunnel trip will cost $1.59 or $1.84, depending on the time of day.

You would also pay a 50 cent EZ Pass fee every month.

If you don't have a transponder, you will be charged to "Pay by Plate," which is the toll, plus a $3.18 processing fee each time you go through the tunnel!

“If you are only going to Norfolk or Portsmouth once a year, it’s still less expensive to get an EZ-Pass,” said Rice.

Just like red-light camera or parking tickets, if you don't take care of your “Pay by Plate bills...

“The fees would stack up. They would be extremely expensive,” said Rice. “If you want to avoid that, so you are not surprised, the EZ-Pass is the way to go.”

Elizabeth River Crossings says their service center in Portsmouth, right between the new courthouse and the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, is open every day from 7am-7pm.

They will only be operating on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve until 2 pm, and will be completely closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.