N.C. To Hold Public Hearings on I-95 Tolling Proposal

The North Carolina Department of Transportation plans to hold seven public hearings between Feb. 7 and Feb. 27 to gather public comment on its plans for tolling Interstate 95 from South Carolina to Virginia. 

Last week, the department unveiled a state-commissioned study that recommends tolling a 182-mile stretch of I-95 as a means of generating $4.4 billion for infrastructure projects. The $6.4 million I-95 Corridor Planning and Finance Study calls for nine tolling zones about 20 miles apart and reportedly seeks to minimize the tolls that would be collected from North Carolina residents.

Construction on Phase I, which includes widening 61 miles from mile marker 20 in Robeson County to mile marker 81 at the Interstate 40/95 interchange in Johnston County, would begin in 2016 and end sometime in 2019. Travel on the Phase 1 stretch would cost 19.2 cents a mile. The remainder would be tolled at almost 6.4 cents a mile, and driving the entire stretch would cost about $19.20.

According to published reports, North Carolina would only be able to fund about 10 percent of its recommended tolling project. Bonds would pay for the first of two phases, and tolls would pay for the rest.

Although states are not allowed to toll existing roads, North Carolina has applied to be part of a federal pilot program that would make the I-95 project an exception. The state will be notified by May if it is approved for the program.


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