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 Tolls on I-95 (Fredericksburg to NC)
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1563 Posts

Posted - 09/26/2011 :  16:20:02  Show Profile
And did you see there's some type of study or proposal to make I-95 a toll road between "south of Fredericksburg" and the North Carolina state line?

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Posted - 10/18/2012 :  07:31:54  Show Profile
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New Member

5 Posts

Posted - 11/13/2012 :  16:34:35  Show Profile
I've seen alot of construction between, Spfld-Stafford, but not much further than that

katia singletary
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Advanced Member

296 Posts

Posted - 11/14/2012 :  16:38:48  Show Profile
The construction from Springfield to Stafford is for the "I-95 Express Lanes," i.e., the conversion of the existing reversible HOV carriageway to a high-occupancy/toll ("HO/T") system and the extension of the reversible carriageway south from its current end at Dumfries to Exit 143 (Aquia Harbour).

The proposal to toll I-95 south of Fredericksburg is a separate matter and would involve tolling the entire road, rather than building what the Federal Highway Administration calls "managed lanes" (HOV lanes, tolled lanes, basically any lane that has some kind of restriction falls within this umbrella term). The politicians are doing a lousy job of explaining it. Essentially, the way it works is that if the FHWA lets Virginia toll I-95, Virginia will no longer receive federal funding for that part of I-95 and must dedicate the toll revenue solely to maintaining or improving that part of I-95. In other words, Virginia can't do what New York does with the tolls on the Verrazano Bridge and the other New York City crossings where half the toll revenue goes to funding mass transit. Virginia wouldn't be able to take I-95 toll revenue and use to widen I-81, for example.

The main reason Virginia's interested in doing this instead of raising the gas tax is that raising the gas tax doesn't really help anything. What the public doesn't understand is that the gas tax doesn't just go into a general pool to be apportioned out wherever a project needs money. Instead, the Commonwealth is divided into several VDOT "districts" that are responsible for construction and maintenance within their own geographic areas. The gas tax revenue is apportioned among those districts according to various formulas written into law. Problem is, the formulas are totally outdated and do not reflect how the population has shifted to Northern Virginia, the Tidewater area, and Richmond. Any increase in the gas tax has to be apportioned using those same formulas unless the law is amended. But does anyone really think the General Assembly members from the more rural areas are ever going to agree to that? Put differently....look at a map. A General Assembly member from Wise or Big Stone Gap isn't going to vote for a new formula that would decrease Southwest Virginia's share of gas tax money in favor of devoting it to I-95.

Nobody likes paying tolls to use a road that's currently free, but when I actually did the research to examine the details of the I-95 proposal I found it a lot less objectionable than I would have otherwise. Problem is, the folks in Richmond haven't tried to explain it in a way the public can understand, so all most people hear is "tolls." People also get this erroneous picture of toll plazas with big backups because they remember the bad old days 30 years ago of driving to New York at Thanksgiving and waiting at tollbooths. Nowadays new toll roads aren't built that way.

What I wonder is how they'll prevent people from doing a "shunpike" maneuver like the one people use in Delaware where they hop off the Interstate at the last exit before the toll plaza, scoot around it on a local road, then get back on at the next exit, thus avoiding any toll. You'd have to use ramp tolls (where you put a tollbooth on the exit or entrance ramps and charge people) or else put the toll plazas at places where it's extremely inconvenient to use an alternate route.
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Advanced Member

679 Posts

Posted - 11/20/2012 :  16:52:27  Show Profile
"so all most people hear is 'tolls'" Uh, right. And what am I supposed to hear? "Options"? If it is a toll road, it is a toll road, and there's no lipstick the PR mavens of VDOT can apply to make that pig kissable.

I strongly suspect you of being in the employ of someone with a financial interest in selling off our shared public infrastructure. "Carriageway" ain't exactly a commonly used term around here. Nor is the apologia of "new toll roads aren't built that way," (and golly shouldn't we be ever-so-grateful to our masters, the highway geniuses, for conferring on us these new tolling mechanisms? I'm just so grateful that all I want to do is throw them my money.)

Again, what you've described is spineless failure on the part of elected officials to do the right thing. Can't distribute the gas tax money fairly? Well, then let's throw our hands up in despair and put in a regressive toll that screws the little folks working at that Burger King outside King's Dominion.
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Advanced Member

296 Posts

Posted - 11/27/2012 :  12:12:29  Show Profile
Nope, just a regular person who's interested in roads and driving.
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