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Relief From Abusive Tolling Practices

As you know, collection of tolls on our tunnels is managed by a private for-profit corporation which is generally free of governmental oversight.  All of us have heard of abusive collection practices against commuters, particularly where significant administrative and other fees are stacked on to the base tolls of drivers who do not have E-Z Pass transponders in their vehicles. With strong bipartisan support, particularly from Delegates in Northern Virginia whose communities are also facing new tolls, my legislation was ultimately incorporated into HB1079, an omnibus bill which I was proud to Co-Patron with Delegate Chris Jones of Suffolk, whose leadership on this issue has been critical for the entire region.  This Bill provides for limits on the fees that can be added to base tolls, places limits on the total amount of tolls which can be assessed, and, very importantly, this Bill would ban any future tolling on existing roads without specific approval by the General Assembly.  Unfortunately, the Senate stripped this last vital provision from the Bill, which I opposed when the Bill was returned to the House with Senate changes.  While we were unsuccessful in restoring this significant protection to the Bill, we were ultimately able to save the remaining protections to commuters offered under this Bill.  HB1079 was enacted by the Governor, and on July 1st there will be wide-ranging new laws in Virginia to provide commuters more time to pay tolls, to protect commuters where E-Z Pass payments were declined in error, and to provide new legal protections for commuters limiting how quickly and how much the tolling companies can collect in court.  In the 2017 session, I will once again introduce legislation to prohibit the imposition of new tolls on our roadways without the permission of the General Assembly, thus eliminating the unchecked authority of unelected state bureaucrats to give away our roads to for-profit private companies to impose tolls with no accountability to us, the public. 


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