West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice recently took to Twitter to tout the state’s E-ZPass system.
On Aug. 27, Justice tweeted, "BIG SAVINGS: I promised a great E-ZPass deal and here it is. Thousands of folks are opening West Virginia E-ZPass accounts, and you can join them! If you sign up now, your plan will automatically transition to the $24 three-year plan in September."
We wondered whether it was correct that "thousands of folks are opening West Virginia E-ZPass accounts." (Justice’s office did not respond to an inquiry.)
In our initial inquiry in September, Dalphord W. Webb, director of customer service operations for West Virginia E-ZPass, had said hard numbers were not yet available. He added, however, that "we have been experiencing unprecedented growth over the last several months. This growth has resulted in a significant rise in applications, both paper and online, as well as emails, phone calls and walk-ins."
By late October, Webb was able to provide hard numbers. He sent PolitiFact a statement that said that "from August 1 through October 15, there were 13,630 new West Virginia E-ZPass accounts opened."
If you prorate the number of new accounts that would have been opened between August 1 and August 27 -- the day of Justice’s tweet -- it works out to a bit under 5,000. That still counts as "thousands."
It’s worth noting that the only E-ZPass toll road in the state is the West Virginia Turnpike, which runs from Charleston southeast to Princeton. So the "great E-ZPass deal" would only be worthwhile for residents of southern West Virginia or those who drive through that region with some regularity. (It would also be useful for anyone who travels outside the state in areas with E-ZPass roads.)
Justice tweeted that "thousands of folks are opening West Virginia E-ZPass accounts."
The E-ZPass authority reported 13,630 new accounts between August 1 and October 15. Prorated to the period covered by Justice’s tweet, that works out to about 5,000, which meets the definition of "thousands."
We rate the statement True.