NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Just in time for New Years, the prices you pay to go through the Downtown and Midtown tunnels are about to go up.
The toll rates are different, depending on what you’re driving and what time you travel. If you use an E-ZPass and commute five days a week it will cost about $72 more than last year. It’s not a huge difference for some people, but for others, like 87-year-old Richard Capen it is impossible to pay. He drives to work in Portsmouth four days a week from his Norfolk home. Tolls will cost him an estimated $869 dollars in 2018. “I could buy a new car for that!” he told WAVY.com. Capen said he is stuck because he needs to work to pay bills and can’t get a job in Norfolk. “I’m too old my dear– nobody’s going to hire me over there,” he said.
There’s no way to know how many people are in Capen’s position, or college students who commute from home, or cancer patients crossing to get chemo.
Elizabeth River Tunnels CEO, Philip Schucet, told 10 On Your Side there are no current toll exemptions for special cases. He said the annual toll increase pays for the rising costs of operating and maintaining the tunnels.
E-ZPass users pay less than other drivers and Schucet urges all drivers to get one.
The increase is part of the public-private partnership contract that former Governor Bob McDonnell inked with Elizabeth River Crossings several years ago. The prices will go up every year on Jan. 1.
Car, SUV and motorcycle drivers with E-ZPasses will pay $1.73, up from the current rate of $1.65 during off-peak times.
The chart below shows the rates in 2018.
The chart below shows the current rates from 2017: