Va. expands Elizabeth River Tunnels toll relief program
Funding to increase to $3.2M in 2022, then 3.5% annually
The commonwealth of Virginia and Elizabeth River Crossings OpCo LLC have partnered to expand the Toll Relief Program, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Monday.
Elizabeth River Crossings, partly owned by Spanish company Abertis Infraestructuras S.A, owns Elizabeth River Tunnels, and the program, which was established in 2016, will reduce Downtown and Midtown Tunnel tolls for those eligible.
“This will make it significantly more affordable for working people to use the tunnels in Hampton Roads,” Northam said in a statement. “The commonwealth and the Elizabeth River Crossing team are making commuting easier, and that is something we can all be proud of.”
In 2022, annual funding for the program will increase sixfold to more than $3.2 million, and then grow 3.5% annually.
The funds will allow for the following changes to be implemented in 2022:
- Provide participants with a 50% toll discount on up to five round-trips a week to reduce the cost of commuting to and from work
- More than double the number of drivers, up to 4,300, eligible for the program
- Eliminate the minimum number of trips required before discounts become available
- Apply the rebate for the discount on a daily basis instead of monthly
“This is our commitment to easing the financial burden that we know our tolls have on income-restrained residents,” Elizabeth River Crossings CEO David Sullivan said in a statement. “We feel it’s our duty to connect them to relief that they can count on. This $2.7 million increase in toll reduction funding is the most significant commitment our company has ever made to the community. We’re excited to see how the program will improve and the impact it will have on those who need it most.”
The 2022 Toll Relief Program is open to Portsmouth and Norfolk residents who earn less than $30,000 a year. The enrollment period begins December 1 and closes February 15, 2022. Toll reimbursements for the new program begin on March 1, 2022. Current participants must re-enroll to receive the 2022 Toll Reduction Program benefits.
The toll rate increase that was scheduled for 2021 and suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic will now be spread out over the next three years, according to the release.