Toll Debate

Many Virginians agree that the state must find a way to provide a consistent funding source for transportation—although several polls suggest that placing tolls on the Commonwealth’s most traveled road is NOT the preferred way to go about it.  But a grassroots organization believes the Virginia Department of Transportation has ignored those surveys … and has formed a new coalition to fight the tolls.

Jay Smith with “Keep 95 Toll Free in Virginia” points to a AAA Mid-Atlantic study where only 14% approved of placing a $2- to $12  toll on I-95 to fund transportation projects.  And he says most people oppose it for several reasons.

“First it causes major diversion and congestion onto smaller secondary roads that aren’t as well suited to handle the traffic that would come as cars try to avoid paying the toll,” says Smith.

He also says that in the tolls’ first six years, 38%  of the revenue will pay for and operate the facility, which Smith thinks is a waste of money.  He adds that it makes the state less competitive economically:

“Why would a company or a business who manufactures goods and needs to ship their goods come locate in an area that is saddled with a huge toll on a major interstate?”

Smith says soon VDOT will submit its proposal to federal officials, THEN hold public comment, which is backwards.  He adds that most people don’t know VDOT’s plans, so the group’s website has Facebook and Twitter links and will allow people to submit opinions that will be forwarded to VDOT.

Those who wish to submit an opinion can go to the website, virginiatollfree95.com

–Tommie McNeil

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