Local News

540 Toll Roads Would Be a 'No-Stop' System

Posted November 14, 2007
Updated May 12, 2008

— Commuters on the new extension of N.C. Highway 540 will have three ways to pay their fees if and when the roadway goes to tolls. The North Carolina Turnpike Authority unanimously voted Wednesday to go to a no-stop system.

"What they'll see is something that looks like an overhead sign gantry, and (they'll) just be able to drive at highway speeds, unobstructed by toll booths or anything else," said Jim Eden, the Turnpike Authority's chief operating officer.

The least-expensive option would be a transponder that is placed on a vehicle and triggers a charge to a driver's credit card account or prepaid cash account when a car passes under the toll.

Another option, Eden said, would be for drivers to register their license plates and get billed accordingly when a camera recorded their car's passage. If a vehicle is not registered, motorists would receive a mailed invoice, which would be more expensive because of the cost to track motorists.

The price of the toll would vary, depending on the option. Actual prices have not been determined.

"Tolls are a user's fee," Eden said. "It's either you pass a tax and everybody across the state pays for it … or the people who actually use the road pay for using the road."

The Turnpike Authority will work through a collections process to make sure people pay.

According to the Turnpike Authority, it is not a matter of whether the future 540 extension, The Triangle Expressway, becomes a toll road but whether the funding will come from state or private entities.

"We're looking at the first stretch of road to open by December 2010," Eden said. "And the rest would phase in after that."

Some motorists who travel along the new 540 stretch said Wednesday they prefer a cashless system compared with traditional tolls, where motorists must stop and pay with change.

"I never carry cash, for sure. I'd rather not have a cash road, because I travel it every day to get to the airport," motorist Anna Crutchley said.

"I think it's better if you keep on going," said Jo Clark, another motorist. "(It) keeps the traffic flowing."


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  • Do n0t believe this Nov 15, 2007

    Thanks MarcoPolo for taking my comments and expanding on them. A little research is a good thing.

    But once again, I ask that WRAL investigate this Turnpike Authority that has been vested since 2002.

    Funny thing. We still in NC have no toll roads. So why a "toll commission" for the last 5 years?

    Should I call 5 on your side? Ha.

    State government is obviously orchestrating this endeavor. Both state and federal tax dollars will fund this project.

    Is it needed? YES

    Is it necessary to toll it? NO

    But the investigative part still taunts me. Why this "authority" was created way back when, and by whom? With what motives?

  • HangOn Nov 15, 2007

    So they'll MAIL invoices to drivers whose tags are photographed. What's the toll, $.50? So they'll spend .41 + the paper and processing to collect .50?

  • RainierBeer Nov 15, 2007

    naturalborncitizen - I spent my 1st 25 yrs in the NW. Beautiful. Spectacular. Not bereft of its own serious DOT-related problems and growth problems. An outdoors person's paradise, though. You'll need to get used to days on end w/o seeing the sun especially in the winter. Rainier Beer was pretty bad, but cheap and a local favorite with us in h.s. I'd be glad to talk to you more about the Seattle area.

  • mommy2caroline Nov 15, 2007

    Well, if you are going to toll this area then you might as well toll all the major interstates. Start with I-95...

  • Dil Nov 15, 2007

    I'll leave the tax talk to everyone else. what shocks me is, after 150 posts, no one has mentioned the big brother aspect. Already, both LEO's and divorce attorney's can get access to EZ Pass info in other states to "prove" where people have been. It is a BIG issue on those states.

    You want me to pay a toll, that's fine. But you better let me pay cash. No way in heck will I let you track my movements.

    Wake up folks... They have already mandated that GPS must be included in your phones. This is just one more step along the slippery path

  • gopanthers Nov 15, 2007

    How can they get accurate camera readings on the car's passing though when it's raining. Of course I know the camera's will be protected somehow from the rain but it won't work if it's windy to and the rain is blowing every which way. You can't even get a clear picture when there reporting daily Commute hour on the Freeway Camera's (morning or evenings when it's raining or foggy). Waste of time and stupid idea. But then again, what do I know. No expert here just an everyday citizen with an opinion on something I think is going to cause more grief then good.

  • MR2U Nov 14, 2007

    Everyone should instead of installing transponders install jammers and lasers to blind the cameras.

  • Zach1 Nov 14, 2007

    What part of "NO TOLLS" is so difficult for these guys?

  • gopanthers Nov 14, 2007

    I haven't and still don't agree with this Toll issue like most of you. But this new Tech of tolling seems like it's going to be a lot more trouble then it's worth then using the old method. Just seems to me like there will be to many veribles for things to go wrong. Maybe I'm just from the old school. I still think they should toll roads going in and out of N.C.... instead of N.C. Residents having to pay day in and day out. And those going in and out on N.C. with N.C. Plates gets a free pass. Let someone else pay for our roads like other states do.

  • MR2U Nov 14, 2007

    BOYCOTT the day it opens souther wake 2nd class citizens should block ALL 540 out of revolt. Our money helped pay for the other parts of this road. Yet we alone traveling mostly on this new are asked to pay for its completion. Tar and feather our local leaders for not protesting it. This is an outrage!