On Dulles Toll Road coins may no longer be accepted next year

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Dulles Toll Road users may not be able to pay with coins starting in 2023 as the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority begins work on a process to transition to fully electronic toll collection.

Under the proposal, motorists would have three options for paying tolls: EZ Pass, one of five mobile apps approved for use in Virginia, or by having their license plate scanned and then receiving a monthly invoice by post. Those paying through an app or license plate scan would pay a service fee in addition to the toll.

Mobile app fees would go to the company that runs the app. For plate scans, the MWAA is requesting permission to charge a service fee of $1.60 per transaction to cover administrative costs. Under Virginia law, the airport authority cannot charge more than it costs to process plate scans.

Dulles Toll Road users may see a fare increase to pay the Silver Line

The Dulles Toll Road is the only highway in the Washington area that still allows users to pay in cash. For those paying in cash, the Dulles Toll Road only accepts coins as exact change is required and the system cannot process paper bills. About 94% of users pay electronically, officials said.

MWAA officials say switching to an all-electronic system will reduce emissions from idling vehicles at the toll plaza. The move to fully electronic tolling, which is expected to take place in January, comes as the MWAA considers the first toll increase for Dulles Toll Road users since 2019. Money collected from the tolls is used to pay for the construction of the Silver Line extension to Washington Dulles International Airport and Loudoun County.

According to the plan, the tolls would be increase to $6 from the $4.75 most users pay when crossing the main toll plaza and exiting at a ramp.

Drivers going off the road now pay $3.25 at the main toll and $1.50 at a ramp. Under the proposal, fares would increase by $1.25, increasing by 75 cents at the main toll plaza and 50 cents at exit ramps.

The public will have 30 days to comment on the proposed changes beginning July 11. The MWAA has also scheduled two hearings on the proposed increase in tolls and the move to fully electronic toll collection.

A virtual public hearing will take place on July 12 and an in-person public hearing is scheduled for July 18. Officials are also asking for answers on other measures they say could help reduce environmental effects, such as offering discounts for those who carpool or use the tollway during off-peak hours.

The board is expected to vote on the changes at its November board meeting.

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