Joint toll road considered at Virginia , North Carolina border

| 12/29/2005

Officials in Virginia and North Carolina are working on a plan to collect tolls from all drivers on Interstates 85 and 95 near their states’ common border south of Richmond , VA.

Each state could bring in nearly $100 million annually under the plan, said Virginia state Sen. Frank Wagner, R-Virginia Beach . The plan would require the revenue to be spent on work for the two interstates, The Associated Press reported.

Wagner said he would introduce a bill next year that would toll passenger vehicles $5 and large trucks even more. A lesser fee would be charged to commuters who cross the border daily.

He said details of the plan would be worked out during the regular legislative session that begins Jan. 11, 2006.

An authority made up of officials from both states would oversee the tolling operation.

Wagner said he met recently with two North Carolina lawmakers to discuss the proposal. He told The AP the legislators didn’t want to be identified until they could meet with their colleagues and explain the idea.

If approved, the transportation departments from both states would study the toll proposal. It would need final approval from federal highway regulators.

Roberto Fonseca, division administrator for the Federal Highway Administration in Richmond , said requesting a toll would require a plan for major improvements.

“Just going up there and putting a toll on interstates, federal law would not allow that,” Fonseca told The Virginian-Pilot.