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E-ZPass Accepted on RMA Expressway System Wednesday, August 3

Out-of-state travelers using toll roads like the Pennsylvania Turnpike, Garden State Parkway and New York State Thruway, to name a few, will be able to add the Richmond Metropolitan Authority’s expressway system to their list of roads accepting E-ZPass starting Wednesday, August 3.

Accepting E-ZPass has no effect on current Smart Tags or their customers. It simply allows E-ZPass customers from other states to use their transponders on the RMA’s toll roads.

The E-ZPass system is a network of electronic toll-collection systems from Virginia to the Northeast. Much like a network of ATM systems, it allows members to use their “home” tags on other toll roads in other states – but without having to pay the surcharge that is common in the ATM example.

For the past few months, Smart Tag users in Virginia have been able to use their Smart Tags on E-ZPass roads in other states – but due to damage from Tropical Storm Gaston, which delayed the RMA’s becoming compatible with E-ZPass, E-ZPass users have been unable to use their tags on the Powhite Parkway, Downtown Expressway and Boulevard Bridge.

The transition is seamless, since Smart Tag and E-ZPass patrons retain their current accounts and the windshield-mounted transponders are identical for Smart Tag and E-ZPass.

For more information about E-ZPass and where it is used, visit the E-ZPass web site at


Widened Approaches at Powhite Toll Plaza Open to Traffic

Motorists on the Powhite Parkway are finding more maneuvering room and better visibility as they approach the mainline toll plaza near the James River.

The Richmond Metropolitan Authority has finished widening the approaches to the southbound and northbound sides of the mainline toll plaza on the Powhite Parkway, just south of the James River Bridge. The wider approaches provide increased sightlines and more mixing room as vehicles approach the toll plaza from both directions.

“These improvements are the first phase of an ongoing capital improvement program dedicated to moving traffic more quickly and efficiently, laying the foundation for better things to come,” said Mike Berry, RMA General Manager.

Widening the area near the toll plaza enables options such as high-speed Smart Tag express lanes in the future, he said.

More than 1.1 million vehicles used the Powhite Parkway in the year after its opening in 1973. Less than three years later, traffic volumes had increased to 4.3 million vehicles annually and the RMA widened the toll plaza. In anticipation of VDOT’s opening of the Powhite Extension in 1988, the RMA widened the Powhite Parkway and its James River Bridge. Traffic for fiscal year 1988 was 22.7 million vehicles. In 1992, when Powhite Parkway traffic reached 26.9 million vehicles, the RMA widened the road once again—this time from three to four lanes northbound between Chippenham Parkway and the toll plaza and from two to three lanes north of the river.

Traffic has increased more than 25 percent to 33.8 million vehicles since the 1992 widening. Smart Tag has enabled the RMA to handle this increased demand with minimal additional delay, since more vehicles can be processed through Smart Tag lanes than conventional toll-collection lanes. As more motorists participate in the Smart Tag program, toll-plaza throughput increases – resulting in fewer delays.


RMA offers a downtown service location for Smart Tag customers

Did you have a problem with your Smart Tag on the way to work this morning? Would you like to make sure it will work when you drive home this afternoon?

If you work, live or visit the downtown Richmond area, the Richmond Metropolitan Authority can now help you find out whether your Smart Tag needs replacing – and have it replaced for you if it does – all with same-day service in most cases.

It’s part of Smart Tag Valet, a service the RMA has been offering since March 2003. By offering a service point for Smart Tag in Richmond’s financial district, the RMA provides commuters in the downtown area with a convenient alternative to Smart Tag’s southside Service Center for ordering new tags or replacing defective ones.

All you have to do is bring your non-working Smart Tag transponder to the RMA’s Downtown Expressway Parking Deck office between 7:30 and 9 a.m., Monday through Friday. If your transponder is found to be defective, the RMA will return it to the Service Center and have your new transponder waiting for you between 2 and 3 p.m. at the Deck's office or between 3 and 7 p.m. at the Deck’s cashier booth. In most cases this is same-day service.

If you don’t have a Smart Tag and would like to subscribe to the service, you can fill out an application at the Deck’s office during those same morning hours and pick up your new Smart Tag the same afternoon.
The Expressway Parking Deck sits atop the Downtown Expressway and occupies the block bordered by Ninth, Byrd, Tenth and Canal streets. The Deck's office is located on the Canal Street side. Smart Tag Valet customers can park for free while they conduct their Smart Tag business in the office; just follow the signs at the Deck's Canal Street entrance.

Smart Tag is the smart way to pay tolls because Smart Tag users save 10 percent at the RMA’s Powhite Parkway and Downtown Expressway mainline toll plazas.

For more information about Smart Tag Valet, call 804-523-3340.

Questions about our convenient downtown Smart Tag replacement service for existing customers?

Click Here

Questions about your Smart Tag account or information on obtaining a Smart Tag?

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Did you know ...


The RMA Toll Roads are:


The Downtown Expressway (State Route 195) from Meadow Street east to the I-95 Interchange


The Powhite Parkway from Idlewood Avenue south to and ending at Chippenham Parkway


The Boulevard Bridge (nicknamed the "Nickel Bridge")


The RMA does not own or manage Interstate 195 (the Beltline Expressway), the Powhite Extension (from Chippenham Parkway to Brandermill), the new Pocahontas Parkway (State Route 895) or Route 288. If you have questions about those roads, please contact the Virginia Department of Transportation at 804-524-6179.


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  Richmond Metropolitan Authority
919 East Main Street, Suite 600
Richmond, VA 23219
(804) 523-3300
Fax: (804) 523-3330

© 2005, Richmond Metropolitan Authority

Last updated August 3, 2005