Virginia toll project's cost kept quiet

| 5/14/2002

The cost for trucks to run on Virginia's Interstate 81 under a proposed truck-only toll is being kept secret, much to the chagrin of some in the state.

The Roanoke Times and the Virginia Trucking Association each have filed a Freedom of Information Act request to gain access to the information detailing the proposed costs to run on the expanded highway.

Virginia's Public-Private Transportation Act provided 90 days of confidentiality for the financing aspects of the proposal submitted in January by Star Solutions because competing bids could have been submitted. No other bids were received during the 90-day period that ended May 6.

However, the Virginia Department of Transportation said it would continue to withhold the financial aspects of the proposal because the Federal Highway Administration may require that the competing-bids process be reopened.

In response to the requests for information, the newspaper reports VDOT said "the fact that the period for receipt of competing proposals has ended does not mean the information is no longer exempt from disclosure."