Bill Proposes State Support for Toll Road Construction

Posted April 6, 2007

— The state Turnpike Authority is seeking $18 million from state lawmakers to kick-start toll road construction in the Triangle.

The state could put the Western Wake Expressway out to bid by June and begin construction in August 2008 if the General Assembly provides the seed money to get the project going, officials said.

Senate Bill 1054 calls for the state to provide the Turnpike Authority with $18 million a year to help pay off bonds issued to finance construction of the toll road. The annual appropriation would continue for 39 years or until the toll road pays for itself.

The highway, which would extend Interstate 540 from Morrisville to Holly Springs, could become the first toll roads in North Carolina, and some lawmakers are reluctant to set the precedent.

"I'm not sure we've got the support of the General Assembly to get it done, but we really need to do this," said state Sen. Neal Hunt, R-Wake, a member of the Senate Transportation Committee. "Absent this, we could become stagnated in our economic growth because of traffic congestion."

Area drivers still aren't sold on the idea of toll roads, even if it would mean fewer traffic tie-ups.

"I don't like tolls one bit ... because it's money out of my pocket," one man said.

"It's kind of the price we pay to have the convenience of the road," another man said.


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  • Pilot2B Apr 21, 2007

    I would drive a toll road on the following condition:

    It would shorten my commute time by a sigificant about. The amount would be proportional to the toll amount (higher toll, the shorter the commute would have to be).

    Also, does anyone know how much the toll was(is / going to be)
    on the section between 40 and 55?
    I read somewhere $2.00 EACH way! I googled the area and determined that stretch of the road was approx 4 mi.

    That is around $0.50 a mile. I bet even people in their Excursions do not pay that much in gas per mile.

    I doubt I would save any time on such a short segment of road to be worth that amount, therefore I would not drive it.

    If the western wake expressway is going to be the same amount per mile, I would not drive that either.

  • turnpike420 Apr 18, 2007 is the place to go, sign up for the FORUMS and discuss tolls on 540 as well as other proposed NCTA tolls if you like. Certainly our purpose is to prevent tolls on I540!!

    Today, myself and another gentleman were the first to give public comments of opposition in a NCTA Board of Directors meeting starting the public fight against tolls on 540. ( as started in an N&O article today ) Please join us and let the NCTA know you do not want tolls on 540. Thanks.

  • Bob Sidel Apr 17, 2007

    if you have a problem with a toll road, then dont use it and you wont have to pay and definitly dont use and and whine about having to spend the money, the choice is yours, you cant have it both ways even if mommy said you could.

  • El Doggo Apr 9, 2007

    If you can't afford it, don't buy/build it! It is that simple!!!! Someone needs to teach folks some self restraint! Or charge the DEVELOPERS to build it! They are the ones who want it! They are the ones who will profit from it! No one else will get as much out of it as the developers!

  • baracus Apr 9, 2007

    I don't really see how putting a toll on the existing portion of 540 would somehow make things "fair". I mean, why stop there? Why not put a toll on 40? Or the widened sections of 55 and 1/64?

    I am not saying that I like the idea of a toll road or think that the NC budget process is sound, but the whining and "second class citizen" talk is a bit much. That stretch of 540 is slated to be finished in like 2022 without tolls. I wonder how many of the current second class citizens will still be living here and working in RTP at that point.

  • WXYZ Apr 9, 2007

    El Doggo. Wow is right. You got it exactly backward (deliberately I hope). The Easley legislature has more than proven that they can and will ALWAYS be able to SPEND faster than they can TAX.

  • El Doggo Apr 9, 2007

    Oh, so they are taxing us FASTER than they can spend it? WOW!

  • WXYZ Apr 9, 2007

    Goodness, Gracious! Very few of you seem to understand. There is NO NEED to put tolls on the roads of NC, because there is NO BUDGET DEFICIT. There was a HUGE budget SURPLUS last year --almost $2 Billion! There is going to be another BUDGET SURPLUS this year--probably near $1Billion! The state has more than enough money, RIGHT NOW, to pay for all the roads. The trouble is: road constuction is a very slow process. And, the NC constitution requires a BALANCED BUDGET every year...therefore any surplus must be SPENT BEFORE the end of each fiscal year. See the problem?

  • ORMA Apr 8, 2007

    NC has one of the highest gas taxes in the country. That money is supposed to be going to fund raod work. Where is it really going? How much more can the State take from its citizens? How much state taxpayer money is being spent to support, medically treat, and educate ILLEGAL aliens and their children in this state? Ask your lawmakers how they voted when it came to giving themselves pay raises out of state funds BEFORE any other budget issues were considered? Where is all of our tax money REALLY going?

  • El Doggo Apr 8, 2007

    They will just take our toll money from Wake county and distribute it across the rest of the state like the fascist, liberal socialists have been doing for years! Is it just another way to support the unsupportable!!!

    Get rid of the fascist democRATs and get rid of your problems!!!!