Tolling efforts get the nod in Virginia

| 5/15/2006

Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine has signed three bills to expand tolling in the state.

Formerly HB614, one new law could allow a toll plaza to be added to Interstate 95 at the border between Virginia and North Carolina. The North Carolina General Assembly would have to approve the same measure, and it would need final approval from Congress.

If North Carolina and Congress sign off, the I-95 tolling compact could bring in nearly $50 million to $60 million annually for each state, The Associated Press reported. It would require revenue to be spent on work for the interstate.

Sponsored by Sen. Frank Wagner, R-Virginia Beach, the new law calls for $5 car tolls with a higher fee for large trucks.

So far, lawmakers in the Tar Heel State have shown little interest in the tolling plan. However, one state lawmaker has announced he wants to turn Interstate 95 in North Carolina into a toll road.

No formal legislation has been offered.

Another Wagner bill – SB720 – signed into law would allow the state’s transportation board to impose tolls on state highways when a highway’s “capacity is increased by construction or improvement.” Localities would have to agree to adding tolls.

Tolls could be imposed only on limited access highways, where users could not evade paying.

One more bill signed into law allows 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 measure – formerly HB201 – authorizes localities to impose and collect tolls.

VDOT would get the final say on any project.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor