Truckers traveling the I-95 corridor through both Virginia and North Carolina could face a double-dip situation if plans to charge tolls on the highway are approved for both states. Truckers traveling through the area say that the cost of doing business will rise significantly if both states receive permission to toll the highway.
“(My trucks) cross the Virginia border daily,” Scott Aman, president of New Dixie Oil in Roanoke Rapids told the Daily Herald. “If North Carolina tolls me at the North Carolina border and Virginia tolls me at the Virginia border, that’s double.”
Both North Carolina and Virginia have applied for admission into the Interstate System Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Pilot Program designed to permit tolling programs on the Interstates.
The program provides for tolling when a state is unable to reconstruct or rehabilitate a facility with existing revenue. The facility has to have sufficient use, age and condition to warrant the collection of tolls.
The idea to charge tolls on I-95 was first broached by the North Carolina Dept. of Transportation as a way to fund repair and improvements for the highway. Costs of work necessary are estimated at between $4 and $7 billion. The state did a study on ways to fund the highway improvements.
“Tolling is one of the options and is looking like one of the more feasible options given the economic climate,” Kristine O’Connor, project planning engineer for the North Carolina Dept. of Transportation told the Herald. “If you took every dollar in the budgets for Divisions 4 and 6 [the areas containing I-95], it would still take 60 years to fund the necessary improvements.”
Highway officials say that tolling I-95 is not a done deal and could take years of red tape to accomplish.