I take the occasion of Smart Tag merging with E-ZPass [Metro, Oct. 28] to voice a complaint I've shared earlier with the Virginia Department of Transportation:

The system's sharp-cornered, hard plastic transponders are held in place on windshields by two adhesive mounting strips. During an accident, this object could easily become a dangerous projectile capable of taking out an eye or causing other serious injury. Having worked in injury prevention and control, I have seen the damage seemingly harmless objects can cause.

Surely a safer system could be designed. New vehicles should have built-in transponder capabilities, and our transportation agencies ought to smarten up by providing safer transponders for the rest of us.




I'm sure legions of travelers on Interstate 95 have eagerly awaited the linkage of Smart Tag with E-ZPass. But I hope the court of public opinion is strong enough to dissuade Virginia from saddling about 495,000 Smart Tag users with another fee.

If Virginia does incur nearly $3 million in one-time charges to join the E-ZPass network, folks might find a modest, short-term surcharge acceptable, coupled with some added fee for new clients. The operative words here are "modest" and "short-term." A one-time fee of $5 would almost cover the cost to link the systems. Further, if new users had a $1 or $2 fee for transponders, that would more than accommodate the $70,000 annual subscription fee that E-ZPass reportedly will charge Virginia.


Fairfax Station