Tolls could help pay for improvements to portion of U.S. 17 in Virginia

| Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Gov. Tim Kaine has signed a bill into law that could use tolls to help pay for improvements along U.S. Route 17 in the city of Chesapeake.

The governor’s signature is no guarantee tolls will be collected along the route. The Federal Highway Administration and Hampton Roads Transportation Authority still would need to grant permission to follow through with the plan.

The new law, previously HB2951, allows 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.

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