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Paying the toll for Maryland's new highway

On a rainy Monday, officials gathered in Gaithersburg for the official ribbon-cutting ceremony before the Wednesday opening of the Intercounty Connector, the 18.8-mile highway that will connect Prince George's and Montgomery counties. The ICC's opening was scheduled for Tuesday but was delayed a day because of weather concerns.

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Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 26, 2011; 9:14 PM

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Thanks for the"driver's manual" for the Intercounty Connector [Commuter page, Feb. 20]. However, one question remains unanswered.

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How much does the E-ZPass transponder cost? What documents do you need to buy it? And do you pick it up at the Motor Vehicle Administration station on the same day that you request one?

Vijay Sazawal, Potomac

This was one of the most frequently asked questions from travelers during the past week. The other was how to make sure they didn't accidentally get caught paying the Intercounty Connector toll by wandering onto the new highway.

The second is pretty simple: Drivers who have been taking Interstate 370 or Shady Grove Road to reach the Shady Grove Metro station need not fear. The connector is a new road. It doesn't absorb the old roads. So there's no toll for doing what you have been doing.

If you think you're going to use the connector a couple of times a year, then it's probably not worth having an E-ZPass just for that. Instead, you can just pay Maryland the toll plus an extra $3 service charge the state will impose for taking a picture of your vehicle's license plate and sending a bill to the vehicle owner.

If you want to sign up for an E-ZPass, there are several ways to do it. But first, note that an E-ZPass from any of the two-dozen transportation agencies in the 14 states that issue them - including Virginia - will work on the ICC.

If you set up a Maryland E-ZPass account, there's a $21 fee for each transponder, plus a monthly account-maintenance fee of $1.50.

You can enroll with Maryland by filling out a form at www.ezpassmd.com. If you can't do that, call the E-ZPass toll-free customer service number at 888-321-6824.

You can set up an account that is replenished by cash or check, but by far, the easiest thing is to have an account automatically replenished through a credit card.


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