The North Carolina House Transportation Committee last week unanimously passed a bill out of committee that would limit the state Department of Transportation's (NCDOT) ability to impose tolls on existing interstates, including Interstate-95. North Carolina House Bill 267 permits NCDOT to toll new capacity, but would prohibit the agency from closing existing lanes to build new tolled lanes.
Passage of this legislation would advance efforts to end the state Department of Transportation's campaign to toll I-95. NATSO member Ernie Brame of the Kenly 95 attended the hearing, along with other members of the "No Tolls I-95 Coalition," and encouraged members of the committee to support the legislation.
H.B. 267 was introduced in March by Representatives Jeff Collins (R), John Torbett (R), Elmer Floyd (D) and Michael Wray (D). Senator Buck Newton in March also introduced S.B. 218, "No Tolls On Interstate 95," which would place a 10-year moratorium on the imposition of tolls on I-95 and require the General Assembly to approve any tolls on I-95 after that period. To date, that bill has not yet been scheduled to be heard in committee.
Last year, grassroots efforts led to the North Carolina General Assembly's passage of a two-year moratorium on any movement toward implementation of the tolling proposal, and Gov. Pat McCrory has made public statements opposing the tolling project. As part of the two-year moratorium, the North Carolina General Assembly directed the DOT to conduct a comprehensive study to determine the economic impact of tolling on residents and businesses along the I-95 corridor. The study is expected to be released this month.
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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