AG to probe admin fees added to tunnel toll bills

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) – Attorney General Mark Herring says he will work with the transportation department to determine the legality of administrative fees that are added to delinquent toll bills.

Elizabeth River Crossings adds fees of $25 for delinquent bills, and in some cases $10 per tunnel trip, for drivers who use the Downtown and Midtown tunnels.

Herring issued a legal opinion on the fees at the request of State Senator Ken Alexander (D-Norfolk). The opinion says fees can be charged, if they are used to cover the actual costs of recovering delinquent tolls. They cannot be charged as means of raising revenue or offsetting a budget shortfall.

Attorney General Herring’s Letter to Senator Alexander

“Our view on the AG’s opinion is that our admin fees and processing fees are compliant with the code,” said Greg Woodsmall, CEO of Elizabeth River Crossings.

Herring said he issued the opinion after finding out about toll bills that grew rapidly because of added fees. A 10 On Your Side investigation uncovered some drivers whose bills ended up more than ten times their actual toll charges.

“Some of the numbers that I’ve heard about are definitely eye-popping,” Herring said. “They’ve caught my attention, and they would be hard for a lot of families to address. So, I’m sure that we’ll be working with VDOT.”

Herring said the transportation department will gather facts, and then it will be up to his office to decide whether any enforcement action is warranted.

“If [ERC] is not in compliance, then we have remedies,” said transportation secretary Aubrey Layne.

Herring said it’s premature to comment on what enforcement measures are available, prior to gathering more facts.

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