Tunnel tolls: Time of day will determine what you pay

Posted at 6:41 PM, Jan 16, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-16 18:46:57-05

Lowering toll rates at the Downtown and Midtown Tunnels may lessen the burden on drivers over the next three years, but for Portsmouth business owners it's still not enough.

"I for one have a catering business. We have drivers and we drive through the tunnel back and forth numerous times a day it's probably going to cost us 15,000 a year," said Charles Greenhood, Owner of Brutti’s.

And, many drivers may not be aware that the $.75 rate starting February first is only for off-peak hours.

Most people will instead end up dishing out one dollar each way. That's because peak times account for eight hours of your day.

Here's what officials consider peak times: 5:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

"The fact is, at 8:30, 9:00 o'clock you could shoot a canon through that tunnel most days,” said Greenhood.

For Andrew Stuart, any amount of money is too much when you’re a college student paying your way through school.

“I was talking to a friend who might have to drop out just because they can't afford the tolls. They’ve managed to pay for classes and that's pretty much all they could do. And, they're working two jobs so I'm not sure how they're doing it,” said Stuart.

But, both Greenhood and Stuart hope that by 2017 state leaders will have a more permanent, favorable solution.

“I have ultimate confidence in Governor McAuliffe to do something a lot more to make this go away,” said Greenhood. In the meantime, Secretary of Transportation, Aubrey Layne, says any money left over from any transportation projects will go towards mitigating the tolls in the future.

Here’s a full breakdown of what the tolling will be:

Starting Feb 1 2014:
Off-peak hours – $.75 cents
Peak hours – $1.00

Starting Jan 1 2015:
Off-peak hours – $1.00
Peak hours – $1.25

Starting Jan 1 2016:
Off-peak hours – $1.25
Peak hours – $1.50

2017 – Tolls will revert back to original amounts in the ERT plan.
Off-peak hours – $1.59
Peak hours – $1.84

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