Virginia to photograph toll cheaters

| 11/30/2006

Toll cheaters beware in Virginia.

The Virginia Department of Transportation has installed a camera system along the 14-mile Dulles Toll Road to replace a previous system that did not hold cheaters accountable.

VDOT claims to be losing $1.4 million each year from toll cheaters statewide, with $1.2 million lost on the Dulles Toll Road alone, where tolls are 50 cents and 75 cents.

The cameras will take a still photo of a vehicle's license plate as a violator passes through the gateless toll-collection lanes. VDOT will notify the person the car is registered to by mail that they have been fined $25 per infraction. Too many infractions and the state could deny a driver's license renewal.

A VDOT spokeswoman told the Washington Post that 1.7 percent of drivers cheat the Dulles Toll Road, which is actually below the national average of 3 percent.

Catching that 1.7 percent is worth it, according to VDOT, which is spending $7.6 million for the cameras.

Installation is complete and the cameras were in test mode this week.

The Dulles Toll Road, owned and operated by VDOT, links the Capital Beltway to the privately owned Dulles Greenway and is part of the access chain to the Dulles International Airport near Washington, DC.