PORTSMOUTH -- The Virginia Department of Transportation has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars advertising E-ZPass transponders as part of the new tolls at the Downtown and Midtown tunnels.

A spokeswoman for VDOT told 13News Now Thursday the department has spent $358,954 marketing E-ZPass to date.

This figure includes public information and education communications, planning and development, material production and implementation support, as well as media planning and placement.

VDOT spokeswoman Shannon Marshall said the marketing costs were necessary to raise awareness of the all-electronic tolls for drivers.

'E-ZPass is a fairly new concept for most of Hampton Roads and with the opening of such a significant tolling project (Elizabeth River Tunnels) increased education and outreach was necessary,' Marshall said. 'Secondly, this new facility is all electronic. There's no cash payment alternative. Additionally, we also wanted to create awareness that E-ZPass is the least expensive method of payment for the tolls.'

The money spent by VDOT to promote E-ZPass is in addition to the money spent by Elizabeth River Tunnels to advertise the new tolls.

A representative for ERT said the company is not required to disclose the amount of their advertising campaign because they are a private company.

More information on the Hampton Roads E-ZPass Marketing Plan

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