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Dulles Toll Road no longer accepting cash, starting today

The Dulles Toll Road by the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

The days of saving up loose change to pay the Dulles Toll Road’s fees are officially in the past.

Effective today (Wednesday), the 14-mile highway also known as Route 237 has converted to an all-electronic, cashless payment system, joining the network of express lanes that criss-cross Northern Virginia.

“Eliminating cash toll collection is expected to speed traffic flow and benefit the environment by reducing emissions that would have been produced by vehicles waiting in toll-booth lines,” the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which operates the road, said in a news release.

All coin baskets have now been deactivated.

The MWAA Board of Directors approved the plan to transition away from coin payments on Nov. 16. At that same meeting, the board also increased fees on the Dulles Toll Road for the first time in five years, a hike that took effect on Jan. 1.

Under the new system, payments can be made with an E-Z Pass or mobile apps. Drivers who don’t have an E-Z Pass transponder will be identified by their license plate and get an invoice mailed to them.

For those who “pay by plate,” two-axle vehicles will be charged $5.60 at the toll road’s main plaza and $3.60 on the ramps. That rate includes a $1.60 administrative fee that state law permits MWAA to collect “to recover the costs of pay-by-plate transactions.”

The fees can be paid online before or after an invoice arrives.

Fees are slightly lower for E-Z Pass users at $4 for the main plaza and $2 for the ramps, since they don’t have to pay the administrative fee.

According to MWAA, about 2% or 726,367 Dulles Toll Road transactions were paid by cash in 2022. The authority had already removed many toll booths to create E-Z Pass express lanes in 2019, and manual toll collections ceased in April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Dulles Toll Road stretches from Route 28 by the Dulles International Airport in the west to the Capital Beltway near Tysons to the east.

Toll revenue goes toward the highway’s operating and maintenance costs, while also funding construction of Metro’s Silver Line, which launched service from Reston to Ashburn on Nov. 15.

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