The Virginia Department of Transportation analyzed the best approach to tolls on Interstate 95 and decided that it would ask for provisional approval from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for only one toll booth on Interstate 95. The toll collection point would be between Petersburg and Emporia.
The initial vehicles passing through the toll would pay $4 and would generate revenue to begin a program of repairs. The state estimates it would collect $250 million in tolls in the first five years and more than $50 million in the years following. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has estimated that it would cost $222 billion a year to maintain the surface transportation system in Virginia. The General Assembly approved the toll proposal before it went through the approval process at the Federal level.
Under federal rules, toll money would have to be used to improve or expand capacity on the highway where it is collected. The toll facility south of Petersburg would collect tolls from through traffic rather than Virginia drivers.
According to Mike Estes, the Commissioner’s Director of Strategic Initiatives for VDOT, those who live near the toll would learn quickly how to skirt the toll collection location by switching to local roads, although on and off ramps near the main toll booth could be tolled as well.
A grassroots campaign to keep I-95 in Virginia toll-free has launched a website, online petition and Facebook page to pressure the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and Governor McDonnell to abandon their plan to toll the Interstate, according to a press release from Capital Results.
The campaign is being coordinated by the National Association of Truck Stop Operators, the American Trucking Associations and the Virginia Trucking Association. All local governments, businesses, associations and individuals who want to keep I-95 toll-free can be a part of the campaign by visiting the website at www.virginiatollfree95.com. The Facebook page is www.facebook.com/virginiatollfree95.