Benefit increases for Norfolk, Portsmouth drivers enrolled in toll relief program

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Governor McAuliffe announced Thursday that qualified Norfolk and Portsmouth residents are now receiving more help paying for tolls at the Elizabeth River Tunnels.

The governor’s office says as of Monday, April 10, the toll relief benefit has increased from 75 cents to a dollar, thanks to a one-time contribution of $500,000 from the parent company of ERT, the Macquarie-Skanska partnership.

In 2015, the company agreed to pay $500,000 per year for 10 years to help offset the cost of tolls on drivers who are most financially impacted. This additional contribution was part of the partnership’s recently-implemented corrective action plan.

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“We are now able to provide even more financial assistance to qualified Norfolk and Portsmouth residents paying Elizabeth River Tunnels tolls,” said Deputy Secretary of Transportation Grindly Johnson. “Every little bit helps and this additional monetary relief will have a great impact on Toll Relief Program participants.”

To qualify for the toll relief program, drivers must live in Norfolk or Portsmouth, earn $30,000 or less per year and have or open an E-ZPass account.

Once a qualified driver’s E-ZPass has recorded eight trips or more through the Downtown or Midtown tunnels in one month, a one dollar refund will be credited to the driver’s E-ZPass account.

Toll relief is a 10-year program. The 2017 application period began on Dec. 1, 2016 and ended on Feb. 15. The 2018 application period begins Dec. 1 and will run through Feb. 15, 2018. Learn more about the program here.