Communities join truckers against I-95 tolls in Virginia

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 8/20/2012

A growing number of local and county governments are siding with truckers, businesses and residents who oppose Interstate 95 becoming a toll road in Virginia.

Leaders from 15 cities and counties met for the second time on Aug. 15 to voice opposition to a plan by the Virginia Department of Transportation that would charge $4 for cars and $12 for trucks using I-95 in Sussex County.

“We all recognize that this proposed toll would have a chilling effect on economic development and business along I-95,” Peggy Wiley, chairwoman of the Greensville County Board of Supervisors, said in a statement from community leaders.

“It would be very difficult to attract any company to an area where employees would have to pay a toll to commute to and from work or adds costs to ship their products.”

Wiley says Virginia needs a transportation solution other than tolls. Emporia Mayor Sam Adams stated that he doesn’t want to see the “The Old Dominion” turn into “The Tolled Dominion.”

According to the statement, community leaders are urging people to contact state delegates, senators and Gov. Bob McDonnell to oppose I-95 tolls.

The group recognizes what truckers already know, that tolls would divert traffic to secondary roadways, and that tolls would hurt businesses by adding to shipping costs and discouraging economic development.

OOIDA says tolls on an existing interstate would amount to a double tax on the user.

“We certainly want our members to communicate with their elected officials and write letters to local newspapers assessing the inappropriateness of tolling an existing federal highway,” OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer said.

A separate coalition created and funded by Natso and the ATA recently formed to oppose I-95 tolls, as well.

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