A bill in the Virginia Senate would give the Commonwealth
Transportation Board authority to impose tolls on all vehicles crossing the
North Carolina-Chesapeake line on U.S. 17. The effort is among several
toll-related bills drawing consideration since the legislative session began
Sponsored by Delegate John Cosgrove, R-Chesapeake, the border-tolling
measure – HB133 – won passage before the full House last week. It has been
forwarded to the Senate Transportation Committee for further consideration.
Tolls would be used to pay for widening Dominion Boulevard in Chesapeake, replacing the two-lane Steel Bridge on U.S. 17, and improving the interchange
at the Oak Grove Connector.
Depending on the type of bridge designed and the configuration of the
interchanges, the price tag could be between $128 million and $210 million, The Virginian-Pilot reported.
Chesapeake and the Virginia Department of
Transportation are preparing a toll study to determine toll amounts. Cosgrove’s
bill, however, mandates large trucks pay a minimum of $3.
Among the various tolling initiatives being debated in the legislature
are two bills offered by Sen. Frank Wagner, R-Virginia Beach.
One bill would allow officials in Virginia and North Carolina to
collect tolls from all drivers on Interstates 85 and 95 near the states’ common
border south of Richmond, VA.
Each state could bring in nearly $100 million annually under the plan, The Associated Press reported. The plan
would require revenue to be spent on work for the two interstates.
Wagner is calling for $5 car tolls with a higher fee for large trucks.
An authority made up of officials from both states would oversee the
If approved in both states, their transportation departments would
study the toll proposal. It would need final approval from federal highway
The Senate Transportation Committee unanimously approved the bill –
SB614 – last week.
Another Wagner bill – SB720 – unanimously approved by the panel would
allow the state’s transportation board to impose tolls on state highways.
Localities would have to agree to adding tolls.
Tolls could be imposed only on limited access highways, where users
could not evade paying.
One other bill approved by the Senate Transportation Committee would
charge fees on all major bridges in Hampton Roads.
Sponsored by Sen. Marty Williams, R-Newport News, the bill would set up
a regional bridge authority with the power to levy tolls to pay for roadwork
and upgrades on six major bridges and tunnels in the region and build a third
crossing to connect the Peninsula with South Hampton Roads, the Daily Press of Newport News, VA, reported.
The revenue would pay for improvements to those bridges, aimed at
reducing traffic congestion either through widening lanes or adding additional
tunnels on the most heavily used water crossings in the region.
The House approved a bill that would allow adjoining counties, cities,
and towns to enter into agreements for the construction and operation of
highways, bridges, and ferries within their boundaries.
Sponsored by Delegate Robert Marshall, R-Prince William, the bill would
allow the localities to impose and collect tolls.
VDOT would get the final say on any project.
Wagner’s bills – SB614 and SB720 – and Williams’ bill – SB192 – are
before the full Senate. Marshall’s bill – HB201 – is in the Senate