Virginia toll fines mount for the guilty – and the innocent

| 5/9/2007

The $7.6 million camera system on a Virginia toll road is supposed to snap photos of vehicles violating the electronic tolling system and send them a citation through the mail.

But, some motorists have complained about receiving fines for violations they did not commit on the Dulles Toll Road, a 14-mile road near Washington, DC, operated by the Virginia Department of Transportation.

One motorist interviewed by the Washington Post said he heard a violation bell ring as the car ahead of him passed through the toll lanes without paying. The honest motorist followed and paid his toll by cash, but the alarm bell signaled again. The cash attendant told him to drive on and not worry about it, but the driver later received a fine of $25.50 in the mail.

A columnist for the Post conducted an informal survey asking who else out there had a beef with the toll system or the program for violators. The verdict, according to a blog entry on the Post Web site, was that dozens of people have had similar problems.

Appeals for amnesty for those caught in an electronic glitch or an accusation have fallen on deaf ears with the DOT, according to the story.

Land Line’s calls to Virginia DOT went unanswered for two days.