Virginia toll bill sent to governor

| Friday, March 15, 2002

A Virginia bill that requires tractor-trailers to use toll-only lanes on Interstate 81 has passed the Senate and House. If HB1373 is signed by the governor, dedicated toll lanes will be set in place to help pay for widening of Interstate 81.

The Virginia Department of Transportation estimates widening the highway from four to six lanes would cost $3.4 billion and take about 30 years under its conventional pay-as-you-go financing. Construction company estimates indicate the highway could be widened to eight lanes from Bristol to the Winchester area, with two dedicated truck lanes in each direction, to be paid for by tolls, in half that time. Cars would travel in the remaining, toll-free lanes.

Gov. Mark Warner is reported to be supportive of the bill that will tap truckers' pockets to the tune of between 10 to 20 cents per mile along the 325 mile interstate. The general number for Gov. Warner office is: (804) 786-2211.

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