McAuliffe unveils rebate for Elizabeth River Tunnel tolls

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New rebate for some local tunnel users
Some users of the Elizabeth River Tunnels will qualify for a toll rebate program, Gov. Terry McAuliffe said Monday. (Photo Courtesy Elizabeth River Tunnels Twitter)

Beginning in March, some residents of Hampton Roads will get a break on tolls for the Elizabeth River Tunnels, Gov. Terry McAuliffe said Monday.

A new program unveiled by the governor, and billed as the first in the nation, will give financial aid in the form of a partial rebate to Norfolk and Portsmouth residents who use the tunnels, according to a release. The program is open to residents of those cities who earn $30,000 annually or less; participants must have or get a Virginia E-Z Pass transponder and account and they must log eight trips or more per month through the Downtown or Midtown Tunnels.

“Since the beginning of my administration, we have made toll relief a top priority for the Norfolk and Portsmouth regions, since there is no free alternative for users of the Elizabeth River Tunnels,” Gov. McAuliffe said in the release.

The program will work by refunding qualified participants 75 cents per trip through the tunnels after they log eight trips in a calendar month. The refunds will be credited to their E-Z Pass accounts.

Enrollment in the toll-relief program will begin Dec. 1, 2016 and continue through Feb. 15, 2017.

The benefits will launch March 1.

The toll-relief initiative is slated as a 10-year program, with the first year serving as a pilot. The tunnel operators, Elizabeth River Crossings, will pay $500,000 per year for a decade to help make up for the cost of the rebates.

To learn more, go to www.VirginiaDot.org/tollrelief.

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Joan Quigley is a former Miami Herald business reporter, a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and an attorney. Her writing has appeared in the Washington Post, TIME.com, nationalgeographic.com and Talking Points Memo. Joan Quigley is a former Miami Herald business reporter, a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and an attorney. Her writing has appeared in the Washington Post, TIME.com, nationalgeographic.com and Talking Points Memo. Her recent book, Just Another Southern Town: Mary Church Terrell and the Struggle for Racial Justice in the Nation’s Capital, was shortlisted for the 2017 Mark Lynton History Prize. Her first book, The Day the Earth Caved In: An American Mining Tragedy, won the 2005 J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award.