I-95 Tolls = Highway Robbery!
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is proposing to build a new tolling facility on I-95 between mile markers 20 and 24 in Sussex County. The VDOT plan calls for a $4 toll for personal vehicles and a $12 toll for trucks. Exit and entrance ramps before and after the toll plaza will collect $2 from personal vehicles and $6 from trucks.
VDOT has made it clear that while the current proposal includes one tolling facility, other tolling locations on I-95 could be considered in the future.
Arguments Against Tolls on I-95
Waste of Taxpayer Money: Tolling is bad policy. It is the most inefficient way to generate transportation revenue. In the first six years, 38% of the revenue generated will go towards building and operating the toll plaza and 16% over the first 25 years. Virginia’s transportation needs are far too great to waste taxpayer dollars on a costly and inefficient tolling system. Taxpayers have already paid for I-95 via taxes and including a toll will be a double taxation for use.
Economic Development: Tolling I-95 will put Virginia’s business-friendly reputation at risk by unfairly targeting trucking and commerce along I-95. At a time when Virginia is attempting to create jobs and promote itself as the premier state to do business, tolls will be a red flag for any company looking to relocate or do business in Virginia. In essence, VDOT will be choosing winners and losers in the all too competitive environment of economic development.
Unfair: A single tolling location on I-95 would unfairly shift the funds generated in one locality to other localities along I-95 and would disproportionately affect the low income residents of Southside Virginia who are already struggling economically.
Traffic: It is inevitable that a toll on I-95 would force major diversions in traffic to roads that are less suited to handle high volumes of traffic. This will require increased maintenance costs on roads ill-equipped to handle such high traffic levels.
Unanswered Questions: There are far too many unanswered questions surrounding tolling I-95 that include safety, environmental impact, congestion and economic impact. There has been virtually no opportunity for public comments or questions.