Opposition to Gov. Bob McDonnell's plan to charge a toll on Interstate 95 near the Virginia-North Carolina is growing, and even some northern Virginia elected leaders are urging the governor to drop the plan.
Preliminary approval of McDonnell’s plan would allow the Virginia Department of Transportation to put a toll plaza on Interstate 95 in both directions near Emporia, about 20 miles from the border. The cost: $4 for cars, $12 for trucks.
The roughly $40 million per year raised, would be used to maintain and improve the heavily traveled road.
This week the Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors joined a growing number of local elected leaders who want McDonnell to drop the tolling plan. Board member Paul Trampe said it’s an issue of fairness.
“I'm also concerned out of just basic fairness these roads have been built with gas taxes already,” he said. “The people who drive on them have paid for them, and now we’re asking them to pay again for transportation improvements elsewhere that’ll benefit others.”
With its resolution, Spotsylvania County joined more than a dozen jurisdictions along I-95, including Richmond, Ashland and Emporia, to go on record against the toll. Several national trucking organizations have recently mounted an online petition drive that already has 2,500 signatures.
Virginia Transportation Secretary Sean Connaughton said it is not something the governor wants to do but something that must be done in the face of declining gas tax revenues.
“We’re just not seeing revenues keep up with the need for both maintenance and for reconstruction, and so we believe this is a viable mechanism for us to move forward,” he said.
E-ZPass technology may make it possible to require a lower toll of drivers who live near the border, Connaughton said.