Traffic

I-95 Among Finalists for Federal Highway Improvement Program

Posted March 8, 2007

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— Interstate 95 could become an eight-lane superhighway through North Carolina, complete with toll plazas.

The federal government's Corridors of the Future Program is designed to relieve congestion on the nation's most critical highways. North Carolina is one of 38 states to apply for the program and has been named one of 14 finalists.

The U.S. Department of Transportation will reviewing the 14 applications and is expected to select five this summer.

The designation would help the state with its $4 billion plan to improve I-95, which links Florida to the Northeast and is among the busiest interstates in the country.

About 60,000 vehicles travel I-95 through North Carolina each day, half of them from out of state. Highway planners expect that number to double by 2030.

Federal transportation officials said the Corridors of the Future Program would speed up permitting schedules and allow states to work together with financing.

North Carolina is considering tolls on the four new lanes, with the four existing lanes remaining free.

The state received permission from the federal government last year to create tolls on I-95, but Corridors of the Future is a separate project.

Four other Southeastern states have applied with North Carolina for the Corridors of the Future designation, and federal officials said the states would have to decide whether tolls are the best way to raise money and, if so, how much to charge drivers.

North Carolina is the only state on the East Coast without a toll highway, although state officials are considering several proposed projects for toll roads.

State officials said the only way to pay to extend Interstate 540 from Interstate 40 to N.C. Highway 55 in Wake County, for example, is to charge drivers a $2 toll. The 18-mile extension is expected to cost $800 million.

Area residents have until Monday to submit comments on the plan to the State Turnpike Authority.

3 Comments

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  • Builder Mar 13, 2007

    It's not the cars that damage the roads, it the big trucks that haul frieght that do 90% of the damage. But no tolls = no 540 extention. Why should someone who lives in rural NC pay to have 540 extended because everyone in Raleigh insists on living in surburbia, and wants to get to work a few minutes sooner.

  • turnpike420 Mar 9, 2007

    I tend to agree to tolls on I-95 if done right... b/c of through traffic percentages, however:

    NO TOLLS ON 540!!

    http://www.notollson540.org is a grassroots movement to get the public informed and aware of the issues before it's too late! help us out and spread the word!

  • blantoncliff Mar 8, 2007

    I grew up in an area ( on I-95 as a matter of fact) that used toll roads to pay for bridges. The toll roads caused traffic back-ups and fatalities. After many years the tolls were removed. Toll roads are a poor choice for funding.
    Who uses our piece of I-95? Mostly travelers, travelers driving between the Sunshine and Empire states. Why should NC residents pay for or even be inconvenienced by the needs of NY and Florida residents? Make the true travelers pay for the damage incurred to the roads WE pay for!!!
    It is truly quite simple. Require any business within 1/8 of a mile of any exit of I-95 charge an additional 3.5%-4.0% sales tax.
    OK....OK those businesses wil complain , but they are making money off of those same people who are destroying our roads.
    Local residents will also be allowed to frequent thase establishments without having to pay the tax... again , very simple. Residents will be issued "discount" cards which will not charge the tax when scanned.Why make locals pay