What is toll relief?
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the Elizabeth River Crossing (ERC) team have developed a Toll Relief Program to administer funds from Elizabeth River Crossings (ERC) intended to help ease the financial burden of tolls on Norfolk and Portsmouth residents hardest hit by tolls at the Elizabeth River Tunnels (ERT).
How is the Toll Relief program funded?
The project has provided critically needed new and refurbished transportation infrastructure to address significant congestion challenges experienced in the region. However, there is also a need to recognize the financial hardship that could accompany projects of this magnitude. To that end, negotiations between ERC and the Commonwealth have resulted in amendments to the Comprehensive Agreement to develop a Toll Relief Program. The resulting program is funded by ERC and is to be distributed in an effective way to partially offset some of the financial burden experienced by some users.
Why not remove or reduce the tolls altogether on ERT instead of creating this program?
The ERT Comprehensive Agreement between VDOT and ERC was for a value of $2.1 billion.
This includes total project costs such as financing, designing, building, maintaining and operating the tunnels and the MLK extension.
Tolls at the Downtown and Midtown tunnels go toward the maintenance and upkeep of the existing tunnels.
They also paid for the construction of the new Midtown Tunnel, which created an additional two lanes of roadway connecting Norfolk and Portsmouth.
ERC sets the toll rates as part of their agreement.
While VDOT is not able to reduce or remove the tolls, it has partnered with ERC, who funds the Toll Relief Program, to offer some financial relief to those users most impacted.