Governor McAuliffe announces plans to reform toll violation collections

NORFOLK, Va. - Governor Terry McAuliffe announced Friday morning his plans to reform toll violation collections.

Governor McAuliffe joined Virginia Secretary of Transportation, Aubrey Lane, for the announcement at Norfolk City Hall at 11:30 a.m.

The governor says they have officially made an agreement for a $2,200 toll violation cap with Macquarie-Skanska, the company who oversees Elizabeth River Tunnels.

The cap would apply to fees associated with tolls, like penalties, administration fees, fines and court related costs.

"This is a great win for our citizens," says Governor McAuliffe.

In regards to toll violation settlements, the Macquarie-Skanska partnership agreed to apply a $2,200 cap for first-time offending individuals who settle in and out of court, cap settlements at $1,100 for first-time individuals enrolled in the Toll Relief Program with payment plants and refund amounts in excess of $2,200 to those who have settled their bills.

Virginia Secretary of Transportation, Aubrey Layne, says they expect approximately 600 checks to go out to customers.

"We can now make these outrageous bills that have been coming to our citizens, simple confetti," says Mayor of Portsmouth, John Rowe.

To address concerns with billing and collections, the partnership agreed to take direct control of its customer service operation, hire a new customer service manager, create a "common-sense" customer service culture, coordinate better with VDOT and E-ZPass Virginia and make an additional one-time $500,000 contribution to the Toll Relief Program.

Macquarie-Skanska will also correct the right-hand turn issue at the access merge road to the MLK Freeway to make sure drivers won't be charged.

Finally, Macquarie-Skanska partnership will appoint a new CEO and engage and communicate with state and local government leaders.

Elizabeth River Crossings also has a new CEO within the last few days, Philip Shucet.

In a conversation over the phone, he told News 3, they are going to move away from a transaction approach to an invoice approach, but the important thing is to get an E-ZPass in every driver's car.

Shucet says his first focus is on the customer service issues and preventing people from getting to collections in the first place.

Drivers will still have to pay tolls, which will have to increase every year.

Governor McAuliffe said again that he feels it is one of the worst deals ever negotiated, but because it is a contract, there is nothing else the state can do about that.