Drivers hopping on the Dulles Access Highway to avoid paying a toll are going to encounter a beefed up police presence, officials announced this week.
This campaign is meant to discourage drivers near Dulles International Airport from using the access road when they should be using the Dulles Toll Road, according to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which operates the toll road as well as Dulles and Reagan National Airport.
The access road exists for traffic going to and from the airport, the authority said, while the toll road is meant for local traffic and other commuters. Drivers who get onto the access road when they aren’t actually going to the airport — this is called “backtracking” — can get hit with a fine as well as points on their license.
“Backtracking through Dulles is cheating and it is illegal,” MWAA Police Chief Stephen L. Holl said in a statement. “It’s not fair to those who play by the rules and stick to the Toll Road for commuting and local travel. Our ongoing efforts to curb this illegal practice will help ensure the Access Highway is used properly.”
Police from the authority as well as from the Virginia State Police will be ticketing drivers they see using the highway without going to the airport. There will be electronic signs up warning drivers that enforcement is being beefed up.
This moving violation comes with fines starting at $92 and three points on a driver’s license, the authority said. Currently, drivers operating two-axle vehicles pay $1.75 at the main toll plaza and $1 at the on- and off-ramps. But these tickets won’t actually make up for any lost tolls. While tolls on the Dulles Toll Road go toward maintaining the road and building Metro’s Silver Line, these fines will actually just go to the county where the ticket is issued.