Autumn on Lake Audobon

Autumn on Lake Audobon
Autumn on Lake Audubon, Photo by Alison Kamat

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Virginia politicians react to E-ZPass Express Lane fines, KMSP-TV, Fox 5 News, Minneapolis, MN, February 2, 2015

By Emily Miller, FOX 5 Chief Investigative Reporter
RICHMOND, Va. - We have exposed tens of thousands of dollars in fines drivers have been hit with for accidentally missing tolls on their E-ZPass Express Lanes in Virginia. The company that operates those lanes, Transurban, responded to our story by capping the fines and fees at $2,500, but many commuters say that is still too much.
Almost everyone I have interviewed in this series of reports has asked me why the state lawmakers haven't stepped in to help them.
“You wonder if these lawmakers realize that they signed up for this type of extortion when they signed up with this partnership with this company,” said Lisa Stanglin. . .
So, why the silence in Richmond?
Could it be that Transurban has spent almost $2.5 billion to build the E-ZPass lanes on the Beltway and I-95?
Or is it because Transurban gives political money? Unlike federal campaign laws, Virginia allows corporations to give directly to candidates. Also, Virginia has no limits on donations from corporations.
The non-partisan Virginia Public Access Project tracks money in politics.
According to their reports, Transurban has given almost half of a million dollars -- $445,710 to state politicians in the last ten years. Sixty percent of the donations went to Republicans while 40 percent went to Democrats. The Republicans are in control of the state legislature. . . .
Click here to read the rest of this story and see the video--and others like it by the same investigative reporter.

Just one question:  Where are the scores of Washington-area reporters, especially the dozens in Northern Virginia?  This is a major issue begging for public--and legislative--attention that will make Transurban's outrageous extortion disappear.  Ideally, it will lead to state control over all tolling of publicly used roads, including the Greenway.

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