Responding to an editorial in the Fayetteville Observer advocating tolls on Interstate 95, NATSO member Ernie Brame last week challenged the North Carolina newspaper for singling out its readers to pay a tax that other residents of North Carolina would not have to pay.
Brame, who operates the Kenly 95 Petro in Kenly, N.C., and is chairman of the No Tolls I-95 Coalition, agreed with the newspaper's assessment that state lawmakers must take up the challenge of dealing with crumbling infrastructure. But they must do it by coming up with a plan that treats all of North Carolina fairly and not by picking winners and losers. Brame said the counties and communities along I-95 already suffer some of the highest unemployment and poverty rates and that new industries already have opted out of considering locating in the area because of the threat of tolling.
"Your editorial staff continues to toss your readership under the NCDOT bus," Brame wrote. "We are certain that there are readers who do appreciate your advocacy of their interest. Those would be your readers in counties along other existing interstates who will continue to breeze along at the 'speed of free' while I-95 and Cumberland County prepares for the 'speed of fee.'
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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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