The Dulles Toll Road. (Jahi Chikwendiu/TWP)

Check your E-Z Pass balances and if you don’t have an electronic pass, your cash on hand — tolls on the Dulles Toll Road will increase to $2.50 beginning Jan. 1 for passenger cars at the main toll plaza.

That’s an increase of 75 cents over the current rate, $1.75. Toll rates at the on and off ramps will remain $1.

The toll increases are needed, in part, to fund construction of the Dulles Rail extension, the 23.1-mile project to extend Metrorail from Falls Church to Tysons, Dulles International Airport and Loudoun County. The first phase of the Silver Line, which includes four stops in Tysons Corner and one at Wiehle Avenue in Reston, is expected to open in 2014. Preliminary work on the second phase has begun.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority board voted in November 2012 to increase rates in 2013 and 2014. There currently are no toll increases planned for 2015.

Nearly 200 people attended a series of public hearings on the rate increases prior to the board’s action. The issue has been one of great concern for commuters and for residents along the corridor, who fear that toll hikes will force cars onto local roads. Some fear that toll rates could rise to as much $17 round trip in the next 20 to 30 years. Other say it is unfair to make drivers pay for the rail link and have suggested other methods for funding the rail project, including adding a surcharge to riders who take the rail line to the airport.