Minnesota is a state that has many bridges and highways that require toll payment for usage. These tolls are charged to help maintain the roads and bridges that are in constant use by millions of motorists. If you are a driver in Minnesota, it’s essential to know the different bridges and lanes available and how to pay for the tolls. In this blog post, we’ll review everything you need to know about paying tolls in Minnesota.
What are the different bridges and lanes available in Minnesota?
Several bridges and highways in Minnesota require toll payment for usage. Some of these include:
- I-35W MnPASS: This high-occupancy toll (HOT) lane runs from downtown Minneapolis to Burnsville. The cost of the toll varies depending on the time of day and the congestion level.
- MnPASS Express Lanes: These HOT lanes are on I-35W, I-35E, and I-94. The cost of the toll varies depending on the time of day and the congestion level.
- St. Croix River Crossing: This new bridge connects Minnesota and Wisconsin. The toll for passenger vehicles is $2.50 during peak hours and $1.50 during off-peak hours.
- The I-90 Mississippi River Bridge: This bridge connects Minnesota and Wisconsin, and the toll for passenger vehicles is $1.50.
How do I pay tolls in Minnesota?
There are several ways to pay tolls in Minnesota:
- MnPASS transponder: A MnPASS transponder is an electronic device mounted on your vehicle’s windshield. It allows you to use the MnPASS Express Lanes and the I-35W MnPASS lane. The transponder costs $15, and you can add funds to your account online or over the phone.
- Pay-as-you-go: If you don’t have a MnPASS transponder, you can still use the MnPASS Express Lanes and the I-35W MnPASS lane. The toll will be automatically deducted from your account using your license plate number.
- Cash: If you’re using the St. Croix River Crossing or the I-90 Mississippi River Bridge, you can pay the toll in cash at the toll booth.
How much do tolls cost in Minnesota?
The cost of tolls in Minnesota varies depending on the bridge or highway you’re using and the time of day. Here’s a breakdown of some of the tolls you can expect to pay:
- I-35W MnPASS: The cost of the toll varies depending on the time of day and the congestion level. During peak hours, the toll can be as high as $10. During off-peak hours, the toll can be as low as $0.25.
- MnPASS Express Lanes: The cost of the toll varies depending on the time of day and the congestion level. During peak hours, the toll can be as high as $8. During off-peak hours, the toll can be as low as $0.25.
- St. Croix River Crossing: The toll for passenger vehicles is $2.50 during peak hours and $1.50 during off-peak hours.
- The I-90 Mississippi River Bridge: The toll for passenger vehicles is $1.50.
What are the benefits of using MnPASS?
There are several benefits to using MnPASS:
- Faster travel times: MnPASS lanes are less congested than regular lanes, so you can reach your destination faster.
- More predictable travel times: Since MnPASS tolls vary depending on the congestion level, you can more accurately predict how long it will take to reach your destination.
- Lower emissions: By using MnPASS lanes, you can reduce your vehicle’s emissions by avoiding traffic congestion.
- Cost savings: If you frequently use MnPASS lanes, you can save on tolls by getting a MnPASS transponder and paying the lower MnPASS rate.
Are there any discounts available for tolls in Minnesota?
Yes, there are several discounts available for tolls in Minnesota:
- MnPASS Flex Pass: The MnPASS Flex Pass allows drivers to use the MnPASS lanes for free when carpooling with two or more people. To use the Flex Pass, you need a MnPASS transponder and must set the switch to “HOV.”
- St. Croix River Crossing carpool discount: If you’re carpooling with three or more people, you can get a discount on the toll for the St. Croix River Crossing. The toll is reduced from $2.50 to $1.25.
- The I-90 Mississippi River Bridge discount: If you’re a frequent user of the I-90 Mississippi River Bridge, you can get a discount by purchasing a prepaid toll card. The card allows you to pay a lower toll rate of $1.25 instead of $1.50.
What happens if I don’t pay a toll in Minnesota?
You may be subject to a penalty fee if you don’t pay a toll in Minnesota. The penalty fee varies depending on the bridge or highway you use, and the time you take to pay the toll. In some cases, failure to pay tolls can result in a suspension of your driver’s license or vehicle registration.
Does E-ZPass work in Minnesota?
No, E-ZPass does not work in Minnesota. E-ZPass is an electronic toll collection system used primarily on toll roads and bridges in the northeastern United States, including states such as New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, as well as some parts of Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland.
On the other hand, Minnesota uses its own electronic toll collection system called MnPASS, which is used on select high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. MnPASS allows drivers to pay tolls electronically using a transponder mounted on their vehicle’s windshield, similar to E-ZPass.
So, if you plan to travel in Minnesota and use the MnPASS lanes, you will need to get a MnPASS transponder, not an E-ZPass transponder.
Are there tolls on I-90 in Minnesota?
Yes, there are tolls on I-90 in Minnesota. The toll plaza is located in the city of Rochester called the Rochester Mainline Toll Plaza. The toll amount varies depending on the vehicle type, and the distance traveled.
Is MnPASS the same as E-ZPass?
No, MnPASS and E-ZPass are two different electronic toll collection systems used in different regions of the United States. MnPASS is used in Minnesota, while E-ZPass is used in several states in the Northeast and Midwest regions. While both systems use similar technology to allow drivers to pay tolls electronically, they are operated by different authorities and require separate accounts and transponders.
In conclusion, paying tolls in Minnesota can seem daunting, but it’s pretty straightforward. By knowing the different bridges and lanes available, the payment methods and costs, and the available discounts, you can make informed decisions about how to get around the state. Whether you’re a daily commuter or an occasional traveler, understanding toll payment in Minnesota is essential to ensuring a safe and efficient driving experience.