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Post date: February 28, 2012:

Toll Roads and State Vehicles

State and University Vehicle Users:

The NC Turnpike Authority recently opened the new Triangle Expressway, a toll road that connects the NC 147 and I-40 Interchange to NC 540 near Research Triangle Park and the NC 540 between NC 55 and NC 54. This is the first modern toll road built in North Carolina, and one of the first in the nation to only use electronic toll collection instead of toll booths. This brings a challenge to light that many departments at East Carolina University may not be aware.

According to NC Motor Fleet Management regulations regarding state vehicles, payment of tolls when traveling in the state vehicle is the responsibility of the traveler and, by extension, the agency of the state employee. With the new electronic toll collection system, this creates a small issues as to the process to pay those tolls. The electronic method uses a transponder and account system installed in the vehicle to register when a toll is incurred and bills the account accordingly, much like the EZ-Pass toll system of some other states. However, if the vehicle does not have a transponder, a photo is taken of the license plate of the vehicle and a bill is sent to the vehicle's agency to pay, which may include additional administrative fees as well as processing time.

For many departments at ECU, this situation is inconsequential as the state vehicles assigned to many departments are rarely driven outside of Greenville. Further, it would be unusual for individuals traveling to Raleigh on ECU business to use the road because of its location and area of service. However, the possibility of travel in the Raleigh/RTP area where use of the Triangle Expressway may be desirable does exist.

After considering the cost to purchase vehicle-specific transponders, the administrative cost of maintaining a government account in the new system, and the infrequency of actually using the Expressway, the department should be aware that all charges are the responsibility of the driver and the department, including any fees that may be incurred due to late payment or administrative costs.

For those departments that believe that utilizing the Expressway with their state vehicles would be a common occurrence, please contact the ECU Central Motor Pool at CMP@ecu.edu or 328-6962 to get more information on options that are available.

The current toll cost for traveling the entire Expressway in one direction is $0.45. Thus, unless other expenses are incurred for which reimbursement is being requested, Accounts Payable will not reimburse for the toll charges. The administrative cost of providing a reimbursement solely for the toll cost would be prohibitive.

Debra Garfi
Director of Parking and Transportation