Opposition to I-95 Tolling Grabs Media Spotlight

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Interstate 95 tolling opposition gained significant media attention in recent days as several North Carolina lawmakers and Virginia business owners sharply criticized their state Departments of Transportation's tolling plans.

In North Carolina, Republican gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory came out against the state DOT tolling plan during a luncheon with Roanoke Valley residents saying that I-95 is a federal responsibility that shouldn’t be maintained through local tolls.

The Democratic gubernatorial candidate Walter Dalton, meanwhile, said tolling existing roads should be a "last resort,” and that the next governor needs to work with North Carolina’s congressional delegation to ensure that tax dollars return to the state. In addition, state Rep. Elmer Floyd, as well as the Harnett County Board of Commissioners, added their names to the list of more than 35 groups, including counties and towns, chambers of commerce and school boards, opposed to the tolling plan.

In an interview with the Wilson Times, NATSO member Ernie Brame, the new chairman of the No Tolls on I-95 Coalition, said he has "zero faith" in North Carolina's current governor and transportation secretary to do the right thing and continues to mobilize groups against the tolls. “I have to fight for this road because the DOT is fighting against it,” Brame said.

The Winston-Salem Journal sharply criticized the tolling plan, writing in an editorial that the N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) is about to waste $1.6 million assessing the economic impact of tolls on the interstate. “DOT said it wanted to get a better idea of how tolls would impact business. We can save the state right here with the obvious answer: Tolls would hurt,” editors wrote in the Oct. 8 opinion. “DOT should save the $1.6 million and drop this whole notion of toll roads, too.”

In the neighboring state of Virginia, business leaders last week put up a series of billboards touting tolls as highway robbery. The effort, aimed at grabbing the attention of Gov. Bob McDonnell as well as the public, is funded by businesses like Davis Oil Co. that say toll booths on I-95 in Sussex County will stunt their economic growth.

Photo Credit: voiceover/bigstock.com

 

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This article originally ran in NATSO News Weekly (NNW), NATSO's member only weekly electronic newsletter. NNW is packed with the latest updates on government and business issues affecting the truckstop and travel plaza industry.

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