Local News

Road improvements could mean tolling I-95

Posted March 26, 2010

— The state Department of Transportation has hired two consultants to study Interstate 95 to determine what fixes are needed on the 182-mile stretch of highway and at what cost to state taxpayers.

One serious funding option, state authorities, say is tolling.

Baker Engineering and PBS&J will work together on the $6.4 million I-95 Corridor Planning & Finance Study, which DOT says will provide a master plan for future development.

The study, when completed in the fall of 2011, will include public input, address current conditions of the road and assess current and future traffic volume and other sources of funding.

"The road's been there since the 1950s, and there hasn't been major work done to it," said Robert Canales, coordinator for strategic initiatives for the DOT.

The DOT puts early estimates at $5 billion to $6 billion or more to make necessary repairs and widen the roadway.

"With the funding resources we have now, your options are limited," Canales said.

To pay for the project, one of the recommendations from a 2008 legislative transportation committee was to toll I-95.

"They looked at a lot of issues, had a lot of professionals come talk to them," Canales said. "I think their proposal carries weight when it comes to that."

I-95 is the only state interstate that has received federal approval for tolls. Other sources of funding for the improvements could include the State Highway Fund, a local-option sales tax and public-private partnerships.

Construction is already under way on the state's first toll road, which is expected to be complete in 2012.

The Triangle Expressway, an 18.8-mile stretch of roadway that will connect the Durham Freeway with N.C. Highway 540 in Wake County and extend N.C. 540 to Holly Springs.

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  • Scrapper Mar 26, 2010

    Wasn't the stimulus supposed to pay for this kind of stuff?

  • dougdeep Mar 26, 2010

    Can't they just put a toll at the border and leave the exits alone? Sure, some will dodge it near the border, but most won't bother.

  • Unaffiliated Patriot Mar 26, 2010

    If it would keep illegals and deadbeats off the interstate who don't have auto insurance and love to drink while they drive, I would like it, however the bleeding hearts in Raleigh would probably waive their fees since they are less fortunate and would suffer a hardship if they had to pay. Hurry up November !

  • teacher-mom Mar 26, 2010

    NC has the highest gas taxes. Where does that money go?

  • bighammer Mar 26, 2010

    i thing the only to stop all the wasteful spending is for the govenment to send a budget to the people to vote on, this can be done once a year just like they require state run. schoole,dot dept.
    then the people can't complain and everyone knows the money will be therefor roads, so no need for tolls.
    Stop Washington from spend,spend,spend our money. horray for fox news

  • jumbofordman Mar 26, 2010

    I say have one toll both at the VA/NC border, plus ones at all the entrance ramps within 25 miles of the border to keep people from bypassing it.

  • LuvLivingInCary Mar 26, 2010

    we need to get that bunch of toll crazed beuracrats out of a job. i would never support toll roads of any kind.

  • PackFan82 Mar 26, 2010

    Here's an idea -- close down the southbound lanes at the Virginia border and open more lanes north bound. That way, yankees can go home but can't come back and no more can come down.

    Just kidding :-)

    Enough tax revenue is generated to pay for things if the government would just use it for the proper things. The gas taxes should be sufficient for upkeep of roads if the funds were not redirected to pay whatever "emergencies" the Governor can come with. Stop spending money we don't have for things we don't need!

  • Pseudonym Mar 26, 2010

    It will be interesting to see how much traffic increases on US 301, which pretty much parallels I-95 up and down the coast. In fact, I-95 was built to bypass 301. Now it looks like things will come full circle as people bypass the toll booths.

  • wkph Mar 26, 2010

    The upper levels of NC government need to get a grip on the State budget expenditures. Just one year, they should cease their overseas travel and excessive spending. I worked in government long enough to know they want to spend every single dime allotted for their department's budget. Maybe they should pick a month where they cease spending and put the money saved into the road improvement fund. It's always easier to tax the people. What about all those "extra funds" the lottery is supposed to provide for education. If it's working, why are all the schools and teachers complaining about lack of supplies and decent facilities. Why not allot one of the scratch offs for the road fund? The public would probably feel they might have a chance for something out of the deal. NC, we need more responsible leadership.

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