North Carolina Department of Transportation will seek federal
permission to charge tolls on I-95 to pay for the highway’s $3
billion overhaul, according to local media.
Joint Legislative Transportation Committee last month agreed to
authorize the highway department to seek the change on the interstate
from the Federal Highway Administration.
report prepared by a consultant hired by NCDOT said the state
could pay for the upgrade by charging drivers $18 to travel the
entire 182 miles the highway wends through eastern North Carolina,
Durham’s WTVD TV reported.
plan calls for constructing six toll booths about 30 miles apart,
and collecting $3 at each booth. The tolls would raise enough
funds over 30 years to widen I-95 to eight lanes.
said the plan would hit out-of-state drivers hardest while letting
many locals make short trips for free, The Fayetteville Observer reported. Opponents said the tolls would discourage tourism and
breed more toll booths north and south of the state border.
wants to transform I-95 from a mostly four-lane highway into an
eight-lane freeway with higher bridges, wider shoulders and longer
ramps. But dipping into available highway funds would delay other
projects, said Calvin Leggett, manager of the department’s program
the state’s application is approved, it would let North Carolina
grab one of two spots remaining in a federal test program on putting
tolls on existing interstate highways, The Observer reported.
Ohio and Texas have expressed interest in the other two.
state then would have to prepare a formal application and the
General Assembly would have to rescind a law that prohibits tolls
on existing roads. The Legislature last year passed that provision
at the same time it allowed a new turnpike authority to build
three new toll roads.
if the proposal moves forward, the state wouldn’t collect its
first I-95 toll until at least 2013.