Virginia proposes tax breaks for truck tolls

| 4/16/2002

A Virginia lawmaker says tax breaks for state truckers might be in order if proposed truck tolls go into effect on Interstate 81. Trucking officials last week also suggested extending the toll to cars.

Gov. Mark Warner signed legislation authorizing the truck toll earlier this month. The plan would include doubling the highway's width, provide four truck-only lanes and cover half the cost with a truck toll. The plan is being reviewed by the Commonwealth Transportation Board and the Federal Highway Administration.

Del. Morgan Griffith (R-Salem) brought up the possibility of tax breaks for Virginia trucking companies last week during a road hearing. Griffith, the House majority leader, said there's still time for state officials to determine how to offset the tolls for trucking companies that pay income taxes and property taxes to the state.

Truckers contend they would alter their routes from I-81 to U.S. 29, U.S. 11 and other toll-free roads if the toll is enacted. In addition, trucking officials say local businesses would lose ground against competitors who could avoid using the highway, thus solving the roadway's current congestion problem and need for more lanes.