6/24/2008More Lawmakers Get Toll Free Driving
Maryland and Virginia join the list of states where public policy makers set road tolls without ever having to pay them personally.
Policymakers entrusted with the decision on how much motorists should pay in tolls to use roads in Maryland and Virginia do not need to worry that they will ever be subject to tolls themselves. The controversy erupted last month when the New York Daily News reported on the lifetime toll-free E-ZPass transponder for New York and New Jersey transportation officials. Soon thereafter, it became known that a toll road company offered every member of the Indiana state legislature free rides. Now, WTOP radio has found that public officials in Maryland and Virginia are likewise accepting the special privilege.
Members of the Maryland Transportation Authority -- the organization that sets toll rates for other motorists -- and the state's Secretary of Transportation all receive a special E-ZPass that ensures that they will never pay tolls. Virginia's Commonwealth Transportation Board members receive the same gift, as does the state's Transportation Commissioner.
Although the transponders are designed to be used only for official purposes, but there is no way to tell if a policy maker decides to use the device on personal errands.