Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 33.2. Highways and Other Surface Transportation Systems
9/17/2019

Chapter 6. Ferries and Toll Facilities.

§ 33.2-600. Acquisition or establishment of ferries.

The Board may acquire by purchase, condemnation, or gift any ferry within the Commonwealth that forms a connecting link in a state highway and may purchase all equipment and other things necessary for the establishment of new ferries to become connecting links in the primary or secondary state highway system, whenever it shall determine such action to be advisable and expedient. The Board may expend from state highway construction funds of the highway construction district where the ferries are located and are under the Board's control at any time such sums as may be necessary to acquire or establish, maintain, and operate any such ferry.

The Board may operate such ferry either as a free or toll ferry and may establish a toll for the use of such ferry at such rates as are deemed by the Board to be reasonable and proper without regulation by any other governmental body.

Code 1950, § 33-209; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-254; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-601. Ferry across Corrotoman River.

The public free ferry across the Corrotoman River, in the County of Lancaster, authorized by Chapter 156 of the Acts of Assembly of 1847, shall be kept according to such act, except as otherwise provided in this section. The Circuit Court of Lancaster may have the contract for keeping the same let to the lowest bidder for a period of five years, and the bonds thereby directed shall be to the County of Lancaster. Furthermore, the ferry shall cross from Merry Point to the upper side of the wharf and canning factory at Ottoman wharf. However, the circuit court of the county shall have the right, upon the application of the board of supervisors, to discontinue the ferry if it appears that public necessity therefor no longer exists. No such application shall be made unless and until notice is given by (i) publication once a week for two successive weeks in a newspaper published in the county or having general circulation therein and (ii) posting copies of the notice at the front door of the courthouse of the county and at both landings of the ferry. Such notice shall be posted and the first newspaper publication made at least 30 days before the day on which the application will be made to the court.

Code 1950, § 33-171; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-247; 2014, c. 805; 2015, c. 256.

§ 33.2-602. Toll bridges; when privilege ceases.

When an act is passed to authorize the erection of a toll bridge, if the work is not commenced within one year from the passage of such act or is not completed within two years after such commencement or if, after its completion, there is an abandonment of the toll bridge or a failure for three successive years to keep it in good order, the privileges granted by the act shall cease.

Code 1950, § 33-215; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-255; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-603. Toll bridges not to obstruct navigation or fish.

Every toll bridge shall be made so as not to obstruct the passage of fish or the navigation of the watercourse over which it is erected.

Code 1950, § 33-216; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-256; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-604. How right to demand tolls ascertained and rates fixed or changed.

Tolls shall be received for passing a bridge only after it appears to the circuit court of the county where the bridge is located that the bridge is completed according to the act authorizing it. The court shall ascertain whether it is so completed by appointing three disinterested freeholders to view it. If they report in writing that it is so completed and their report is confirmed by the court, the person authorized to erect it, or his heirs or assigns, may then demand and receive tolls at the rates fixed by such act from persons or things passing over the bridge. If no rates are fixed, then he, or his heirs or assigns, may receive tolls at such rates as may be fixed by law. If the toll rates are specified in such act they may be changed by law, unless such act otherwise expressly provides.

Code 1950, § 33-217; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-257; 1995, c. 647; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-605. Special police officers in connection with toll bridges.

A. The circuit court of any county in which there is a toll bridge or its approaches, or the circuit court of any county in which lies any part of any toll bridge or bridges or their approaches belonging to the same proprietor, but which toll bridge or bridges or their approaches lie in more than one county, may, upon the application of the proprietor, appoint any employee of such proprietor, employed in the control or operation of such toll bridge or bridges and approaches, a special police officer. Such special police officer may exercise all the powers and duties imposed and conferred upon sheriffs in the Commonwealth, in criminal matters, upon any such toll bridge or bridges and their approaches. Such power shall extend throughout the Commonwealth when such special police officer is actually in pursuit of a person accused of crime or acting under authority of a warrant duly issued for the arrest of a person charged with a crime. However, no special policeman appointed under this section whose duties as such special policeman are merely incidental to such private employment shall be deemed to be an employee of the Commonwealth or county or counties within which such toll bridges and their approaches lie, within the meaning of the Virginia Workers' Compensation Act (§ 65.2-100 et seq.).

B. Before any such appointment is made, the court shall be satisfied that such person has been a bona fide resident of the Commonwealth for more than one year immediately preceding such appointment and is of good moral character. Before any such person shall be permitted to discharge any of the duties of such special policeman, he shall take the oath required by law and shall give a bond payable to the Commonwealth in the penalty of not less than $500, conditioned for the faithful discharge of his official duties.

C. No salary shall be paid to any special police officer appointed under subsection A by the Commonwealth or county, or counties, in which such properties lie; nor shall he receive any fees for making any arrest, executing any warrant, summoning a witness, or carrying a person to or from jail.

Code 1950, §§ 33-218, 33-219, 33-220; 1970, c. 322, §§ 33.1-258, 33.1-259, 33.1-260; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-606. Permission required to erect or maintain toll bridges over navigable water.

No toll bridge erected after March 19, 1928, shall be constructed, maintained, or operated across, in, or over any navigable waters in or of the Commonwealth, anything in the charter of any company to the contrary notwithstanding, unless a permit is first obtained from the Board. The Board may grant or withhold such permit or prescribe its terms and conditions, as it may deem for the best interest of the Commonwealth, except so far as such terms and conditions are provided for in this chapter.

Code 1950, § 33-221; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-261; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-607. Approval of plans by Board; inspection; costs.

Detailed plans, estimates, and specifications shall be submitted to the Board for approval before construction is commenced on a toll bridge or approaches under a permit granted under § 33.2-606. No such toll bridge shall be constructed until such plans, estimates, and specifications are approved by the Board. Access to such work shall be granted to the Board, the Commissioner of Highways, and authorized representatives of either at all times during construction. The permittee shall keep accurate records of the cost of such toll bridge and approaches and real and personal property used in the operation thereof and of all replacements and repairs and shall submit a copy to the Board.

Code 1950, § 33-222; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-262; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-608. Toll bridges may be purchased by Commonwealth.

In addition to the power of eminent domain as provided by law for highways in the primary state highway system, the Commonwealth, acting through the Commissioner of Highways, may purchase any such toll bridge and the approaches thereto with the real estate and tangible personal property necessary for their proper operation, at such time as may be specified in the permit granted for such toll bridge, or at the expiration of any two-year period after such time, all at a price equal to the original cost, to be determined as provided in this section, less depreciation.

In order to exercise the right of the Commonwealth to purchase and take over any such toll bridge and approaches and real estate and tangible personal property, the Commonwealth, through the Commissioner of Highways, shall give to the permittee, or its successor in title of record to such toll bridge and other property, not less than two months' notice of its intention to do so and specify the date on which the conveyance will be required. Title to such toll bridge and approaches and property shall be vested in the Commonwealth free of lien at the time set out in such notice and upon the payment or offer of the purchase price determined in accordance with §§ 33.2-602 through 33.2-610, to such permittee or successor in title of record to such toll bridge and other property, or to the trustee or trustees, or mortgagor or mortgagees in any deed of trust or mortgage on such property, or to the lien creditor or creditors, as their interest may appear of record.

The original cost of such toll bridge and approaches and real estate and tangible personal property shall be determined by the Commissioner of Highways. The original cost shall include the actual cost and an additional amount equal to interest at the rate of six percent on the amount actually invested by such permittee, or successor in title of record, in such property, or in hand for investment therein, during the period of construction. "Actual costs" includes the cost of improvements; financing charges; the cost of traffic estimate and of engineering and legal expenses, plans, specifications, and surveys; estimates of cost and of revenue; other expenses necessary or incident to determining the feasibility or practicability of the enterprise; administrative expenses; and such other expenses as may be necessary or incident to the financing of the project and the placing of the project in operation. The Commissioner of Highways shall determine the depreciation and the reasonableness of each item of actual cost.

Code 1950, § 33-224; 1956, c. 138; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-264; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-609. Conveyance of toll bridge by Commonwealth.

In the event a toll bridge, at the time it is purchased by the Commonwealth under the provisions of §§ 33.2-602 through 33.2-610, is not on the line of a highway then in one of the systems of state highways, the Commissioner of Highways may convey such toll bridge and approaches and other property to such county or counties in which it may be in whole or in part located, upon the payment by such county or counties of the amount paid by the Commonwealth for such toll bridge and approaches and other property, with interest on such amount at six percent per year from the time of such payment by the Commonwealth. The conveyance shall be executed in the name and on behalf of the Commonwealth by the Commissioner of Highways.

Code 1950, § 33-225; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-265; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-610. Sections 33.2-606 through 33.2-609 not applicable to certain toll bridges.

Nothing contained in §§ 33.2-606 through 33.2-609 shall be construed to apply to any bridge existing or under construction on March 20, 1928, or to bridges constructed within or adjacent to towns or cities having a population of more than 3,500.

Code 1950, § 33-226; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-266; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-611. Tolls may vary to encourage travel during off-peak hours.

A. In order to provide an incentive for motorists to travel at off-peak hours, and in accordance with federal requirements, wherever a toll is imposed and collected by the Department or such other entity as may be responsible for imposing or collecting such toll, the amount of such toll may vary according to the time of day, day of the week, traffic volume, vehicle speed, vehicle type, similar variables, or combinations thereof. The amount of such toll and the time of day when such toll changes shall be as fixed and revised by the Board or such other entity as may be responsible for fixing or revising the amount of such toll, provided, however, that any such variation shall be reasonably calculated to minimize the reduction in toll revenue generated by such toll.

B. 1. Beginning July 1, 2008, every agency of the Commonwealth or any political subdivision or instrumentality thereof having control of or day-to-day responsibility for the operation of any toll facility in the Commonwealth shall take all necessary actions to ensure that every newly constructed toll facility under its control is capable of fully automated electronic operation, employing technologies and procedures that permit the collection of tolls from users of the facility, to the extent possible, without impeding the traffic flow of the facility. An entity operating a toll facility that substantially upgrades its equipment or substantially renovates its facility after July 1, 2008, shall comply with the provisions of this subsection. The provisions of this section shall also apply to any nongovernmental or quasigovernmental entity operating a toll facility under a comprehensive agreement entered into, pursuant to the Public-Private Transportation Act of 1995 (§ 33.2-1800 et seq.), on or after January 1, 2008. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit a toll facility from retaining means of nonautomated toll collection in some lanes of the facility.

2. For toll facilities within the territory embraced by the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, the provisions of subdivision 1 apply to all toll facilities, regardless of whether or not they are newly constructed or substantially upgraded.

2004, c. 1003, § 33.1-223.2:12; 2007, c. 896; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-612. Unlawful for Department of Transportation to permit free passage over certain toll bridges and ferries; exceptions.

Except for those persons exempted from tolls under § 33.2-613, it shall be unlawful for the Department or any employee thereof to give or permit free passage over any toll bridge, tunnel, or ferry that has been secured through the issuance of revenue bonds and which bonds are payable from the revenues of such project. Every vehicle shall pay the same toll as others similarly situated. Except as provided in § 33.2-613, the provisions of this section shall apply to vehicles and employees of the state government, local governments, or other political subdivisions and to vehicles and persons of all other categories and descriptions, public, private, eleemosynary, or otherwise.

Code 1950, § 33-173.1; 1950, p. 458; 1954, c. 576; 1968, c. 170; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-251; 1973, c. 215; 1981, c. 417; 1983, c. 617; 2014, c. 805; 2015, c. 256.

§ 33.2-613. Free use of toll facilities by certain state officers and employees; penalties.

A. Upon presentation of a toll pass issued pursuant to regulations promulgated by the Board, the following persons may use all toll bridges, toll ferries, toll tunnels, and toll roads in the Commonwealth without the payment of toll while in the performance of their official duties:

1. The Commissioner of Highways;

2. Members of the Commonwealth Transportation Board;

3. Employees of the Department of Transportation;

4. The Superintendent of the Department of State Police;

5. Officers and employees of the Department of State Police;

6. Members of the Board of Directors of the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority;

7. Employees of the regulatory and hearings divisions of the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority and special agents of the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority;

8. The Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles;

9. Employees of the Department of Motor Vehicles;

10. Local police officers;

11. Sheriffs and their deputies;

12. Regional jail officials;

13. Animal wardens;

14. The Director and officers of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries;

15. Persons operating firefighting equipment and emergency medical services vehicles as defined in § 32.1-111.1;

16. Operators of school buses being used to transport pupils to or from schools;

17. Operators of (i) commuter buses having a capacity of 20 or more passengers, including the driver, and used to regularly transport workers to and from their places of employment and (ii) public transit buses;

18. Employees of the Department of Rail and Public Transportation;

19. Employees of any transportation facility created pursuant to the Virginia Highway Corporation Act of 1988; and

20. Law-enforcement officers of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission.

B. Notwithstanding the provision of subsection A requiring presentation of a toll pass for toll-free use of such facilities, in cases of emergency and circumstances of concern for public safety on the highways of the Commonwealth, the Department of Transportation shall, in order to alleviate an actual or potential threat or risk to the public's safety, facilitate the flow of traffic on or within the vicinity of the toll facility by permitting the temporary suspension of toll collection operations on its facilities.

1. The assessment of the threat to public safety shall be performed and the decision temporarily to suspend toll collection operations shall be made by the Commissioner of Highways or his designee.

2. Major incidents that may require the temporary suspension of toll collection operations shall include (i) natural disasters, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, and floods; (ii) accidental releases of hazardous materials, such as chemical spills; (iii) major traffic accidents, such as multivehicle collisions; and (iv) other incidents deemed to present a risk to public safety. Any mandatory evacuation during a state of emergency as defined in § 44-146.16 shall require the temporary suspension of toll collection operations in affected evacuation zones on routes designated as mass evacuation routes. The Commissioner of Highways shall reinstate toll collection when the mandatory evacuation period ends.

3. In any judicial proceeding in which a person is found to be criminally responsible or civilly liable for any incident resulting in the suspension of toll collections as provided in this subsection, the court may assess against the person an amount equal to lost toll revenue as a part of the costs of the proceeding and order that such amount, not to exceed $2,000 for any individual incident, be paid to the Department of Transportation for deposit into the toll road fund.

C. Any tollgate keeper who refuses to permit the persons listed in subsection A to use any toll bridge, toll ferry, toll tunnel, or toll road upon presentation of such a toll pass is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $50 and not less than $2.50. Any person other than those listed in subsection A who exhibits any such toll pass for the purpose of using any toll bridge, toll ferry, toll tunnel, or toll road is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

D. Any vehicle operated by the holder of a valid driver's license issued by the Commonwealth or any other state shall be allowed free use of all toll bridges, toll roads, and other toll facilities in the Commonwealth if:

1. The vehicle is specially equipped to permit its operation by a handicapped person;

2. The driver of the vehicle has been certified, either by a physician licensed by the Commonwealth or any other state or by the Adjudication Office of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, as being severely physically disabled and having permanent upper limb mobility or dexterity impairments that substantially impair his ability to deposit coins in toll baskets;

3. The driver has applied for and received from the Department of Transportation a vehicle window sticker identifying him as eligible for such free passage; and

4. Such identifying window sticker is properly displayed on the vehicle.

A copy of this subsection shall be posted at all toll bridges, toll roads, and other toll facilities in the Commonwealth. The Department of Transportation shall provide envelopes for payments of tolls by those persons exempted from tolls pursuant to this subsection and shall accept any payments made by such persons.

E. Nothing contained in this section or in § 33.2-612 or 33.2-1718 shall operate to affect the provisions of § 22.1-187.

F. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections A, B, and C, only the following persons may use the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, facilities of the Richmond Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or facilities of an operator authorized to operate a toll facility pursuant to the Public-Private Transportation Act of 1995 (§ 33.2-1800 et seq.) without the payment of toll when necessary and incidental to the conduct of official business:

1. The Commissioner of Highways;

2. Members of the Commonwealth Transportation Board;

3. Employees of the Department of Transportation;

4. The Superintendent of the Department of State Police;

5. Officers and employees of the Department of State Police;

6. The Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles;

7. Employees of the Department of Motor Vehicles; and

8. Sheriffs and deputy sheriffs.

However, in the event of a mandatory evacuation and suspension of tolls pursuant to subdivision B 2, the Commissioner of Highways or his designee shall order the temporary suspension of toll collection operations on facilities of all operators authorized to operate a toll facility pursuant to the Public-Private Transportation Act of 1995 (§ 33.2-1800 et seq.) that has been designated as a mass evacuation route in affected evacuation zones, to the extent such order is necessary to facilitate evacuation and is consistent with the terms of the applicable comprehensive agreement between the operator and the Department. The Commissioner of Highways shall authorize the reinstatement of toll collections suspended pursuant to this subsection when the mandatory evacuation period ends or upon the reinstatement of toll collections on other tolled facilities in the same affected area, whichever occurs first.

G. Any vehicle operated by a quadriplegic driver shall be allowed free use of all toll facilities in Virginia controlled by the Richmond Metropolitan Transportation Authority, pursuant to the requirements of subdivisions D 1 through 4.

H. Vehicles transporting two or more persons, including the driver, may be permitted toll-free use of the Dulles Toll Road during rush hours by the Board; however, notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision B 1 of § 56-543, such vehicles shall not be permitted toll-free use of a roadway as defined pursuant to the Virginia Highway Corporation Act of 1988 (§ 56-535 et seq.).

Code 1950, § 33-11; 1952, c. 572; 1970, cc. 322, 415, § 33.1-252; 1973, c. 215; 1981, c. 417; 1983, c. 617; 1984, cc. 508, 543, 778; 1990, cc. 505, 509, 613; 1992, c. 266; 1993, c. 866; 1994, cc. 65, 771, 874, 927; 1995, c. 572; 1996, c. 138; 1998, c. 565; 2004, c. 655; 2005, c. 298; 2006, c. 859; 2014, cc. 469, 805; 2015, cc. 38, 256, 502, 503, 730; 2019, cc. 269, 547.

§ 33.2-614. Disclosure of certain information relating to use of toll facilities; injunctive relief; attorney fees.

A. Neither the Department nor any other operator of any toll bridge, toll road, or other toll facility nor any employee or contractor with the Department or other toll facility operator shall disclose any information derived from an automated electronic toll collection system about the time, date, or frequency of use or nonuse of any such facility by any individually identified motor vehicle except when ordered to do so by a court of competent jurisdiction. The provisions of this section shall not apply to information supplied (i) to any person who is a participant in the electronic toll collection system, when such information is limited to vehicles owned or leased by such person; (ii) to the issuer of any credit card or debit card or other third party vendor when such information is necessary for collecting the toll and ensuring the accuracy of such billing by the operator; (iii) for statistical or research purposes, when such information contains no data attributable to individual vehicles or individual participants; or (iv) to federal, state, and local law enforcement, when such information is required in the course of an investigation where time is of the essence in preserving and protecting human life or public safety.

B. Any aggrieved person may institute a proceeding for injunction or mandamus against any person, governmental agency, or other entity that has engaged, is engaged, or is about to engage in any acts or practices in violation of the provisions of this section. The proceeding shall be brought in the circuit court of any county or city wherein the person, governmental agency, or other entity made defendant resides or has a place of business. In the case of any successful proceeding by an aggrieved party, the person, governmental agency, or other entity enjoined or made subject to a writ of mandamus by the court shall be liable for the costs of the action together with reasonable attorney fees as determined by the court.

2004, c. 665, § 33.1-252.2; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-615. Electronic notification of unpaid tolls.

For the purpose of electronic notification of unpaid tolls, the Department shall request email addresses and personal cell phone numbers from all holders of an account for an electronic toll collection device that is the property of the Commonwealth.

The Department shall electronically notify a holder of an account for an electronic toll collection device that is the property of the Commonwealth of each unpaid toll, within 108 hours of such unpaid toll, (i) when such device is detected by the toll operator or (ii) when such device is not detected by the toll operator but whose vehicle is associated with such account. The Department shall provide a second electronic notification on the eighth day after the unpaid toll. Such notification requirements shall only apply to accounts where the account holder has provided the Department with an email address or cell phone number. Such notification shall be for informational purposes only and the notice, or lack thereof, shall not alter or amend the requirement that an owner or operator pay all required tolls, fines, penalties, and fees.

All toll operators in the Commonwealth shall notify the Department of an unpaid toll on a facility it operates related to an account for an electronic toll collection device that is the property of the Commonwealth within 96 hours of such violation.

2016, c. 753.

§ 33.2-616. Electronic toll collection device; DRIVE SMART Virginia Education Fund contribution.

A. The Department shall establish a method by which holders of an account for an electronic toll collection device that is the property of the Commonwealth may opt to make a voluntary contribution to the DRIVE SMART Virginia Education Fund through electronic means.

B. There is hereby created in the state treasury a special nonreverting fund to be known as the DRIVE SMART Virginia Education Fund, referred to in this section as "the Fund." DRIVE SMART Virginia is a nonprofit organization exempt from taxation under § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Fund shall be established on the books of the Comptroller. All funds collected pursuant to subsection A shall be paid into the state treasury and credited to the Fund. Interest earned on moneys in the Fund shall remain in the Fund and be credited to it. Any moneys remaining in the Fund, including interest thereon, at the end of each fiscal year shall not revert to the general fund but shall remain in the Fund. Moneys in the Fund, less costs of administration incurred and withheld by the Department, shall be used solely for the purposes of supporting educational projects in the Commonwealth through DRIVE SMART Virginia's existing network of education, corporate, and community partners in an effort to improve behavior, raise awareness, and educate members of the general public in workplaces, schools, municipalities, and other locations on issues related to safe driving. Such issues shall include work zone safety, sharing the road with bicyclists and pedestrians, teen driver safety, occupant protection, designated driving, distracted road users, and other issues as needed. DRIVE SMART Virginia shall submit an annual report to the Secretary regarding its use of disbursements from the Fund. Expenditures and disbursements from the Fund shall be made by the State Treasurer on warrants issued by the Comptroller upon written request signed by the Secretary.

2017, c. 533.

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