The Virginia Assembly passed transportation legislation that requires legislative approval of any new tolls placed on Interstate 95, a sharp refutation of a plan by the Virginia Department of Transportation.
The Virginia DOT had planned to put tolls on the interstate south of Fredericksburg, using the 1998 Interstate Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Program as justification. According to the American Trucking Associations, the state had planned to enact a single toll location a few miles from the North Carolina border.
The legislation now goes to Gov. Bob McDowell for his signature.
The ATA and NATSO, the truck stop industry association, had joined together to fight the tolling effort last year. According to the ATA, no states have enacted tolls under the 1998 program because of a lack of public support. The assembly’s recent move, ATA president Bill Graves said, is a step in the right direction.
“By looking at, then rejecting tolls in favor of more efficient revenue sources, Virginia lawmakers have provided a solid example for states looking to finance needed transportation infrastructure,” he stated.
For Graves, new tolls aren’t the best way to pay for roads.
“New tolls mean new bureaucracy and new inefficiency, and in some cases, they mean new danger as traffic diverts from toll roads to smaller secondary routes,” he said. “We’re pleased that Virginians recognize this and made the right decision for Virginians and interstate travelers.” - Jon Ross