Local News

State Lawmaker Says He's Likely To Support I-95 Tolls

Posted March 23, 2006

— A state senator says he may support a proposal that would put tolls on a major highway at the North Carolina-Virginia border.

Virginia lawmakers recently passed legislation that would put tolls on Interstate 95. If approved by the North Carolina General Assembly, motorists passing each way through the state on the roadway would pay a $5 toll.

Proponents of the toll say it will create much-needed revenue, but others say it will steal revenue from the state.

Built in the late 1960s, I-95 has fallen into disrepair, which will cost the state about $3 billion to repair. That's why Sen. Tony Rand, D-Cumberland said he is considering supporting the toll when state lawmakers consider the legislation in the spring.

But with construction set to begin in just a few weeks on the Carolina Crossroads Music & Entertainment District, Roanoke Rapids Mayor Drewery Beale fears toll booths will have a negative impact on tourism.

"Five dollars a car might not seem like a lot, but it seems like a lot to a person in a Tier 1 county," Beale said. "We're one of the poorest counties in North Carolina."

Drewery and leaders in other rural counties are likely to oppose the proposal when lawmakers debate it. They say it is bad timing.

But Rand said he believes many other lawmakers will support the tolls like he has.


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