A bipartisan group of Virginia lawmakers have joined together with local officials and business leaders to speak out against tolls on Interstate 95 in Virginia. Republicans and Democrats stood shoulder to shoulder and called for the General Assembly and not the Department of Transportation or Gov. Bob McDonnell to determine whether to put tolls on Interstate 95 and other existing highways.
“We are united in opposition to tolling on I-95,” State Delegate Chris Peace (R-Hanover) said during a press conference announcing the opposition. House Bill 2196, introduced by Peace, requires approval by the General Assembly prior to tolling any Interstate Highway System component in operation prior to July 1, 2013, except for HOV lanes and HOT lanes. NATSO Member Rex Davis who operates Davis Travel Centers in Virginia also spoke during the event.
As governor, McDonnell can apply for federal permission to toll existing interstates—except for I-81—without legislative approval. At least five legislators, including Peace, have filed bills to change that.
Earlier this month Gov. McDonnell unveiled his transportation funding plan. Although that plan didn’t mention the state's I-95 tolling proposal, McDonnell continues to pursue the option to put tolls on the corridor despite the opposition. The governor's plan raises taxes by a net $2 billion or so over five years by replacing the state's 17.5 cent a gallon gas tax with a 0.8 percent increase in the state sales tax to 5.8 percent and a $15 hike in the state vehicle registration tax.
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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