Traffic

I-95 Toll Road Debate Returns To State Legislature

Posted February 24, 2005

— Thousands of people head north and south along Interstate 95 every week. Much of the roadway needs repair and even reconstruction to accommodate all the cars and trucks. At least one state lawmaker believes the solution is to make I-95 travelers pay tolls.

Sen. Larry Shaw, D-Cumberland, wants toll booths placed at North Carolina's borders. He said that way, the majority of drivers who pay will be from out of state.

"I've always liked I-95, but if they put a toll road on it, I'm going the other way," traveler Mel Hofecker said.

"I don't drive through here very often, but when I do go through, I wouldn't mind nice roads to travel on, so if that's what the money will be used for, then I'm not opposed to it," traveler Dave McKay said.

However, area hotels, restaurants and shopping centers along I-95, which depend on out-of-state travelers, do not want tolls.

"I think if people had to pay a toll to enter North Carolina just to come shop or have dinner, they would be reluctant to do that," said Lori Medlin of the Halifax County Tourism Bureau.

Gov. Mike Easley shot down a similar proposal two years ago. The state Department of Transportation has declined to comment on the toll road proposal.

The state Turnpike Authority is also considering building a toll road that would connect Cary to Research Triangle Park. The board said the Triangle Parkway could cost between $70 million and $100 million. The three-mile stretch of road would connect the future I-540 near Cary to the Durham Freeway.

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