UPDATE: RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia lawmakers have rejected a plan to add tolls to Interstate 81 to pay for $2 billion in upgrades that would improve safety and traffic flow.
Legislators moved Thursday to shelve any immediate plans to add tolls or increase regional taxes to pay for improvements to the 325-mile highway that runs along western Virginia.
Lawmakers say they need more time to study potential funding sources, including an increase to the state gas tax.
Before the legislative session started, Gov. Ralph Northam and some Republican lawmakers tentatively backed a plan to add tolls that could cost as much as $50 for trucks and $25 for cars to use the entire highway. But business groups and trucking groups strongly opposed tolls, saying it would stifle commerce.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam and Republican lawmakers are tentatively backing a plan to add tolls to I-81 in western Virginia that could cost as much as $50 for trucks and $25 for cars to use the entire 325-mile highway.
Northam and lawmakers said at a Tuesday news conference that the interstate is in critical need of about $2 billion in upgrades to improve safety and traffic flow.
They said they support a plan advanced by the Commonwealth Transportation Board to add tolls and would allow commuters to buy an annual pass, projected to be about $30.
Northam and lawmakers said they were open to discussing other funding options, like tax increases. But they said they wanted to finalize a funding source during this year’s legislative session.