The Virginia Senate unanimously approved a bill that could
help pay for improvements along U.S. Route 17 in the city of Chesapeake with
The Senate vote cleared the way for the bill - HB2951 - to
head to Gov. Tim Kaine's desk. The House previously approved it by unanimous
The governor's signature is no guarantee tolls will be
collected along the route. The Federal Highway Administration still would need
to grant the state permission to follow through with the plan.
Sponsored by Delegate John Cosgrove, the bill would allow
the Commonwealth Transportation Board to seek tolls for the new $42 million
U.S. 17 that stretches along Dominion Boulevard to the North
Carolina-Chesapeake line. The route was widened in late 2005.
Supporters say tolls are needed to help cover the cost of
anticipated wear and tear on the road if a major landfill is constructed across
the border in North Carolina, The
Virginian-Pilot reported. Toll revenue also would help pay for replacing
the two-lane Steel Bridge on U.S. 17.
Toll rates for large trucks with three or more axles would
start at $3 per trip. Rates for other vehicles would be determined after a
study by the city of Chesapeake and the Virginia Department of Transportation.