Business / Local

More than 2,000 Norfolk and Portsmouth residents sign up to receive toll relief

Program will ease the financial pressure of Elizabeth River Tunnels tolls on residents most impacted

PORTSMOUTH – Governor Terry McAuliffe announced Friday, Feb. 24, more than 2,000 Norfolk and Portsmouth residents will receive financial assistance for Elizabeth River Tunnels tolls beginning Wednesday, March 1, 2017. Toll Relief, the first program of its kind in the nation, offers a 75-cent per trip refund to qualified Norfolk and Portsmouth residents who frequently travel through the Downtown and Midtown tunnels.

“We’ve put into place a long-term, sustainable Toll Relief program that will offer financial assistance to Norfolk and Portsmouth residents who need it the most,” said Governor McAuliffe. “After the previous administration negotiated the terrible deal that resulted in high tolls for Virginia commuters, this administration has taken every step it can to alleviate that burden. We first lowered tolls on the Downtown and Midtown tunnels. We then eliminated them altogether on the MLK Freeway Extension. And now, our toll relief program will offer much-needed assistance to many Norfolk and Portsmouth residents. ”

Elizabeth River Crossings (ERC), operators of the Elizabeth River Tunnels, has agreed to pay the Commonwealth $500,000 a year for 10 years to fund the Toll Relief Program.

“We’re bringing about real, meaningful relief to those individuals hardest hit by Elizabeth River Tunnels tolls,” said Deputy Secretary of Transportation Grindly Johnson. “The cost of tolls can be a financial burden, and many people need assistance. I’m pleased we’re now able to offer this program that will ease tolling impacts on Norfolk and Portsmouth residents who travel the Downtown and Midtown tunnels.”

To qualify for Toll Relief, participants must:

· Reside in Norfolk or Portsmouth
· Earn $30,000 or less per year
· Have or open a Virginia E-ZPass account
Once a qualified participant’s Virginia E-ZPass transponder has recorded eight trips or more through the Downtown or Midtown tunnels during a calendar month, a 75-cent per trip refund will be credited to his or her Virginia E-ZPass account.

Toll Relief is a 10-year program. The 2017 application period began Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, and concluded Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017. The 2018 application period begins Friday, Dec. 1, 2017, and will run through Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018.

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