MnPASS will become E-ZPass next month, allowing drivers to pay tolls in Minnesota and 18 other states while using the same pass.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation announced Thursday that the change will occur on Aug. 2. E-ZPass will largely operate the same as MnPASS, allowing drivers to take an express lane during rush hour periods on Interstate 35W south, I-35E and I-394. (A fourth express lane is also coming to I-35W between Roseville and Blaine.)
Buses, motorcycles and vehicles with two or more occupants can access E-ZPass lanes for free, while single riders can pay a fee to use the lanes during peak hours. Fees increase as traffic in the express lanes increases, and range from $0.25 to $8.00.
According to MnDOT, 80% of vehicles using the express lanes are buses or carpool vehicles.
During non-peak hours, express lanes are not restricted.
The biggest benefit will be for those who frequently drive in any of the 18 other Midwestern and East Coast states that currently use E-ZPass. Minnesota drivers will be able to use their E-ZPass transponder to pay tolls on any of those highways.
Those who want to hold on to their MnPASS tag can continue to use it on express lanes in Minnesota. But riders looking to use their pass in other states should switch to E-ZPass next month.
According to the Star Tribune, Minnesota will pay E-ZPass, based in Delaware, $20,000 a year to operate in the state. Minnesota can opt out of the program any time.