For Immediate Release: March 31, 2017
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Brian Coy, Brian.Coy@governor.virginia.gov | Virginia Department of Transportation, Shannon N. Marshall, Shannon.Marshall@VDOT.Virginia.gov

Governor McAuliffe Announces Reforms to Toll Violation Collections Process

~The Macquarie-Skanska Partnership responds to the administration’s concerns regarding toll violation collections on the Elizabeth River Tunnels~

 

NORFOLK – Today at Norfolk City Hall, Governor Terry McAuliffe announced the Macquarie-Skanska partnership has agreed to take corrective action to address concerns related to its handling of toll violation collections on the Elizabeth River Tunnels.

“Since I took office, my transportation team and I have done everything we can to alleviate the harm the last administration’s poorly-negotiated contract for the Midtown and Downtown Tunnels has done to the people of Hampton Roads,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Last week in Portsmouth, I expressed my absolute disgust with the Macquarie-Skanska partnership’s toll violation collections process on the Elizabeth River Tunnels. I made it clear the Commonwealth will not stand for this ill treatment of its citizens. Today, I’m pleased to announce the Macquarie-Skanska partnership has demonstrated good faith and proposed a corrective action plan that will right many of these wrongs and save Virginians money in the process.”

Last week the Governor held a press conference in Portsmouth condemning Elizabeth River Crossings’ (ERC) abusive conduct toward Virginians who had been charged thousands of dollars in excess of the amount required by Virginia law and the Commonwealth’s agreement for toll violation settlements. Following that conference, the Macquarie-Skanska partnership that owns ERC approached the McAuliffe administration with a list of proposed corrective actions in response to the Governor’s stated concerns.

With regard to toll violation settlements, the Macquarie-Skanska partnership has agreed to:

  • Apply a $2,200 cap for first-time offending individuals who settle in and out of court
  • Cap settlements at $1,100 for first-time offending individuals enrolled in the Toll Relief Program with payment plans
  • Refund amounts in excess of $2,200 to those individuals who have already settled their bills
    • These refunds will take place within 60 days

To address concerns with billing and collections, the Macquarie-Skanska partnership has agreed to:

  • Take direct control of its customer service operation
  • Hire a new customer service manager
  • Create a “common-sense” customer service culture
  • Coordinate better with the Virginia Department of Transportation and E-ZPass Virginia
  • Make an additional one-time $500,000 contribution to the Toll Relief Program

The Macquarie-Skanska partnership also will correct the right-hand turn issue at the access merge road to the MLK Freeway to ensure drivers are not charged.

Lastly, to address the long-standing issues with its leadership, the Macquarie-Skanska partnership will:

  • Appoint a new chief executive officer
  • Proactively engage and communicate with the community and local and state government leaders
  • Commence a robust awareness and education campaign
  •  “Today’s news is remarkable,” said City of Portsmouth Mayor John Rowe. “Governor McAuliffe continues to uphold his promise to reform the toll violation and collection process. Thanks to his efforts our residents are better equipped to handle their unpaid tolls and fees.”

“I applaud Governor McAuliffe for standing up for our citizens,” said City of Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Alexander. “Since he took office, he’s taken several steps to help alleviate the burden of Elizabeth River Tunnels tolls. First, he lowered tolls. He then removed them altogether on the MLK Freeway. And, he’s now helping residents better address their unpaid tolls and fees. This critical relief couldn’t have come at a better time.”

“We are confident the Macquarie-Skanska partnership can deliver on these reforms, and we will hold them accountable,” said Virginia Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne. “This is another step by the administration to bring much-needed reform and relief to our citizens who need it most.” 

 

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