Do you drive on I-95? Would you pay for the privilege? You may do so soon. Governor Bob McDonnell announced today that he's granted the Virginia Department of Transportation "preliminary approval" to toll Interstate 95 in the Commonwealth.
In a press release on his website, McDonnell makes the case that a) I-95 is important and b) it's in need of serious improvements, and the only way to raise the necessary funding is to start collecting tolls.
According to the press release:
"Preliminarily, VDOT estimates it could generate $250 million over the first five years of the toll program and over $50 million annually thereafter. These toll revenues will help fund capacity expansion, operational improvements, safety improvements, and pavement and structure reconstruction and rehabilitation throughout the corridor. Examples of specific projects that could be funded through toll revenues include widening I-95 between I-295 and the North Carolina border, enhancing Intelligent Transportation Systems and installing over-height detectors on bridges, shoulder widening and the installation of guardrails, and improving pavements on more than 700 lane-miles within the corridor."
My guess is this won't be a popular move—no one likes to pay for things they previously got for free—but it may be a necessary evil. No word yet on exactly when tolling would begin or how much drivers will be expected to pay.