State agency rejects I-81 toll proposal

| Friday, August 05, 2005

In Maryland, the State Highway Administration is recommending that a proposal to turn part of Interstate 81 into a toll road be scrapped.

Highway officials said they heard too much opposition to the idea from groups like the Chamber of Commerce, according to reports from The Associated Press.

The chamber feared a toll road would hurt economic development and channel heavy traffic onto a parallel, two-lane route.

If the state does reject the toll road idea, Maryland transportation officials will have to go back to the drawing board. They were counting on tolls to help pay for widening I-81 from four lanes to six along a 12-mile stretch near Hagerstown.

Without the toll revenue, they estimated the project could take 20 to 30 years to complete.

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