PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WVEC) -- The ball has dropped, the champagne uncorked... and the tolls are more expensive in Hampton Roads.
This will be the fourth increase at the Downtown and Midtown Tunnels since tolling began in 2014, an unwelcome change at the time for some residents of Portsmouth.
But amid the criticism, the tolls remain. Elizabeth River Crossings announced 2018's rate is $2.09 with an E-ZPass during peak hours, a 14-cent increase.
The South Norfolk Jordan Bridge also announced a toll increase for 2018. Starting January 1, drivers with an E-ZPass will now pay $2.35 each way, 10 cents more than 2017's rate.
Last week, 13News Now Anchor David Alan sat down with Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Lane to discuss changes coming to Virginia in the new year. Seemingly ever-increasing tolls was a hot topic. While Layne said he believes there should always be a free option, tolls are inevitable.
"I believe over the decades our politicians, quite frankly, have not been honest with citizens on what transportation costs," Layne said.
Layne told13News Now the state has just $500 million a year to invest in new infrastructure, and the first phase of the Interstate 264-64 interchange alone costs $350 million. So if people want more from the government, Layne says they'll have to pay more in taxes and in tolls.
Money collected from tolls at the Veterans Bridge in Chesapeake goes toward the cost of the Dominion Boulevard Improvement Project. A toll increase there is expected in July.
At the Chesapeake Expressway, the last change in toll rate was May 2016.