Virginia infrastructure plan could include tolls on I-81

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Virginia transportation officials are looking at possibly adding tolls to I-81 to help fund infrastructure improvements. (Photo courtesy 365trucking.com)Virginia transportation officials are looking at possibly adding tolls to I-81 to help fund infrastructure improvements. (Photo courtesy 365trucking.com)

The Virginia Department of Transportation has reportedly revealed a draft plan that would add tolls to I-81 through the state for both passenger cars and trucks.

The Bristol Herald Courier reports the plan, which was unveiled Monday, is intended to generate funds for improvements on the 325-mile stretch of interstate outside of the state’s annual transportation budget. A study into how to generate the needed $2 billion was ordered by the Virginia General Assembly, and it originally mentioned charging only trucks for potential tolls.

The draft plan includes tolling both passenger cars and commercial trucks in “time of day” tolling that would charge higher rates at peak travel times and lower rates overnight.

According to the Herald Courier’s report, the study calls for charging commercial trucks 17 cents per mile, which would be $55.25 to cross the entire state across I-81. The study shows 11.7 million trucks travel along I-81 each year.

While this week’s proposal is just a draft plan, the Herald Courier reports the Commonwealth Transportation Board is expected to finalize the plan during meetings on Dec. 4-5 and forward it to state lawmakers for 2019. The Virginia legislature would then have to approve the plan before tolls are enacted.

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