Tolling on I-81? Here We Go Again

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The Governor and lawmakers have decided that tolling the entire stretch of I-81 in Virginia is a good idea, another case of back room deals without the input from Virginians.

Why do lawmakers in Richmond support tolling rather than a gas tax increase? Is it because Virginians aren’t supportive of a gas tax increase or is it because lawmakers are afraid of not getting reelected. I for one, would rather fund roadway improvements with any other funding than a toll, including a gas tax. Let’s ask Virginians what we think. Don’t make decisions and deals ahead without consulting those who will be impacted. And don’t hold a series of so-called public meetings after you’ve made your decision as a façade to say you reached out to get “public input”.

Have the Governor and lawmakers considered all the implications of tolling. They say it will generate “x” amount of revenue and point to the trucking industry as footing a large part of the potential costs. What about the impact to local communities when truckers look at alternate routes? How will tolling I-81 impact existing tax dollars and spending by truckers in communities along I-81 at gas stations, restaurants, hotels, mechanic shops, truck supply stores, etc. Most of all, how will tolling impact local residents that rely on I-81 as the backbone for their commute to work, many of whom travel long distances to get to their jobs with I-81 as the only practical corridor? Have the Governor and lawmakers in Richmond considered the burden on low-income and low or minimum-wage employees that may not have the $6, $8, $25, or $35 per trip in one direction just to get to and from work?

Let’s rethink tolling as the already decided option for I-81 in Virginia.

Yours Truly,

Virginia Taxpayer, Resident and Driver

[Name withheld by request.]