VDOT, DMV workers won’t pay tolls, while first responders, school buses will

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$1,000 will be the average yearly cost for a commuter traveling through the Downtown and Midtown tunnels come February 1st.

While you are shoveling out your hard-earned money, though, VDOT and DMV workers will be getting a free pass.

They are just a few of the agencies exempted from paying the new tunnel tolls.

“So you give certain categories of people a pass, and don’t even consider first responders?” said State Senator Kenny Alexander.

Alexander says as the law stands, State police and Sheriff’s deputies are exempt from the tolls, because they are state-wide offices while local police and fire trucks, even those responding to accidents in the tunnels, will have to pay the toll.

And that's not all...

“Ambulances, school buses, HRT buses, they all have to pay the full toll,” said Alexander, who also said because of the size of those vehicles, it will cost $7.34 each trip.

The City of Norfolk tells NewsChannel 3 if the law stays as is, they will be planning for a $3,500 toll bill each month.

That's why Alexander introduced Senate Bill 24 right before the 2014 General Assembly session starts this week.

It would exempt local police, fire trucks, ambulances, school buses, HRT buses, and even military vehicles from paying any tolls.

Right now, those are the rules for every other toll road outside Hampton Roads and he wants it to be the same in our area.

“If this bill doesn’t become law, cities will have to raise real estate taxes and other taxes to pay for these fees,” said Alexander.


  • Paul Gray

    If there is a toll to use a road or tunnel, EVERYONE should pay!!!
    If a woman taking her child from Portsmouth to Kings Daughters for needed medical care daily, weekly etc…has to pay to use that tunnel, then tell me how a DMV employee going from High st. to the MacArthur mall for a new pair of shoes gets to go for free.
    Buses whether it be HRT or school buses should have to pay as well…
    Everyone needs to feel the pain, and share the cost, that way next time they push thru a toll to pay for a project that hasnt even been proven that will help ease traffic ..maybe they will think twice.

    Next thing that you know that Elected Officials will be exempt.

  • Joe

    If the law doesn’t pass exempting local police, fire and EMS Portsmouth and Norfolk should notify VDOT and ERC they won’t respond to emergencies in either tunnel.

    • Tunnel Robbery

      Really..Those on assistance are to blame? Elected Officials who lost sight of governing for the people are to blame. The struggle financially for so many is hard enough, to add a toll at this time is heartless and greedy. Now they pick and choose who gets a free pass, this is wrong.

  • dcy

    I seriously don’t understand the DMV exemption. The VDOT makes sense. I’m in complete agreement with the pending legislation to exempt school buses, HRT, law enforcement, etc. It’s either let them through or pay it twice with higher taxes.

  • betty

    Wow! DMV employees ….WITW! I would think its more important for first responders, law enforcement, and state police to be able to go into the tunnel at no cost. If its a cost that means the response time maybe longer to emergencies. Also Portsmouth, Chesapeake, and Norfolk maybe hesitant to responding at the Downtown Tunnel….and Norfolk and Portsmouth maybe hesitant in responding at the Midtown Tunnel. It could turn into an unfortunate mishap easily. I will not be travelling through those tunnels.

  • Connie

    I think if one pays all pay no exceptions. I regards to fire and ambulances they should not have to pay. BUT DMV and employees of ERC should pay double

  • greg smith

    the exception is for those agency employees driving state vehicles on official state business not personal use get the story straight

    • Brandy Graze

      How are the cameras to know ‘official business’ from liesure? To them is’t all the same and you can bet the exemopt emploees aren’t going to tell when they’re just going for a dinner out vs. ‘working’. I don’t plan on visiting Norfolk or VB if I can avoid it. That means no beach, hockey, baseball, ODU games and no overpriced consession monies. I’ll stick to “my side of the water” thank you.

  • Dianne Linscott

    are you all so desperate for money that you will put public safety in harms way for a few bucks. I wonder how many politicans will be exempt
    I was really surprised that this has all taken place since I moved from the area. Makes me wonder if I can afford to come back for a visit.

  • dokein

    And just think about all the federal and military employees in government vehicles or personal vehicles on official business. Once the military sees the spike in local travel expenses, they may have to take another look at whether they can save money with a BRAC.

    • Dianne Linscott

      not only BRAC but the loss of commerce between the cities is going to hurt the economy Is the money gained going to be worth the massive amount of money that will be lost. They are going to be isolating communities.

  • Stephanie

    Correction….. VDOT employees do NOT get a free pass. I will be paying the $1000 a year just like everyone else on the commute to work.

  • Paul

    why don’t you just give them a pass so they don’t have to sit in traffic either, just move to the front line. This toll situation is such a bunch of BS!

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