Plan would toll existing part of I-540

Posted August 21, 2009

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— A long-range plan to keep up with growth and expected traffic numbers could mean tolling the existing eastern and northern portions of Interstate 540.

"That is the option that could fund the increased extra lanes on 540 on the northern side," said Joe Bryan, chairman of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, the committee comprised of Wake County leaders that develops the region's long-range transportation plan.

More tolls on I-540? More tolls on I-540?

Construction is already under way on the state's first toll road, the Triangle Expressway, an 18.8-mile stretch of 540, from the intersection of the Durham Freeway and Interstate 40 to N.C. Highway 55 in Holly Springs.

Apex Mayor Keith Weatherly believes it's unfair that the tax-paid northern loop is not tolled while the portion that runs near his town will mean motorists paying to travel the road for at least the next 30 years.

"The sooner the better, absolutely," he said of tolling the northern loop. "There is some frustration right now."

Local leaders say that with growing transportation needs in the Triangle, they must begin looking at alternative sources for road funding. The traditional source, the gas tax, is no longer the answer because cars are getting much better mileage per gallon than they used to.


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  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Aug 24, 2009

    What's frustrating is that they take the gas taxes that we pay in Wake County to fund four lane highways to nowhere down east and in rural counties in other parts of the state, while telling Wake County that the only way to get better roads is through tolls.

    There are a lot of wasted highways down east. US-64 east of Rocky Mount to east of Tarboro is Interstate quality with almost no traffic. I-795 between Wilson and Goldsboro is the same way. There are several other four lane rural highways in North Carolina that didn't need to be built or widened based on traffic volumes.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Aug 24, 2009

    Until we vote Democrats out, we are going to see continued efforts from the government to seize our assets through taxes and tolls.

  • Aug 24, 2009

    I will keep my toll fee and travel through neighborhoods at break-neck speeds. Crooked politicians, Look at toll roads anywhere in the country and you will find the roads to be in worst shape than regular roads. Its a Govt sham.

  • SheriffTruman Aug 24, 2009

    Actually, as long as they make "signficant improvements" I am pretty sure they can toll the entire road. This is the same arguments they used when talking about potentially putting a toll on I95 in NC. They would have to do it as part of a widening project.

    Judging by the lack of comments here I guess people are perfectly fine with this.

  • Bendal1 Aug 24, 2009

    Actually, the article is misleading. The existing lanes on
    I-540 will never be tolled unless the state pays back all the Federal money used to plan, design and build them first. What the planners are talking about are the FUTURE lanes; those could be tolled just like the HOV lanes are on I-95 north of Richmond.

    The claim that "if they hadn't stolen $3 billion from the HTF we'd have plenty of money" is inaccurate too. Highway construction costs have doubled in the last 8 years, and the pot of available projects has grown too. We'd be able to build more roads, but that money still wouldn't be enough.

    It's not about what's "fair" either. I-540 was built with taxpayer money, tolling it isn't "fair" unless the state pays back all that money first. The southern half of I-540 wasn't built first because that wasn't where the growth was.

  • jet2rdu Aug 24, 2009

    Apex Mayor Keith Weatherly believes it's unfair that the tax-paid northern loop is not tolled.

    Unfortunately Keith, there are many things in life that are unfair. Not allowing the citizens to vote on these toll roads and changes to them are unfair. Having elected Representives on Jones Street and in DC who have first concerns about themselves and their own financial future is unfair. Having to pay tolls on any roads where any taxpayer money is spendt or loaned is unfair.

    Lastly, the citizens of NC not being able to "Recall" their elected officials when they not doing the jobs they were elected to do is unfair.

  • pbjbeach Aug 24, 2009


    you are absouletly right if the pols would have put the highway trust fund moneys in to a lock box an had used it excluivesely for highways there would be a shortage of highway funding today. if they toll highway I-540 around raleigh knightdale they will be absoultly wrong in doing so as that this highway was paid for using the highway trust fund moneys meaning that the taxpayers of nc would actually be paying for this segement twice if they do indeed put a toll on it. if the legisture would let the states highway inspectors do their jobs so that they could insist on the ncdot state speceficiations be enforced on these contractors when these projects or being originally constructed without scr-- ups then the states taxpayers would be able to stop paying twice an three time for having the same sections of highway originially constructed thank you

  • nomo05 Aug 21, 2009

    I'm not for any new taxes. But please stop hiding taxes by sprinkling them here and there, income, sales, fuel, on and on. Just add it to the fuel tax locally and move on. Or, cut services and make it work with your budget.

  • eglidewarrior Aug 21, 2009

    Okay, let's get REAL here. The article states that "the gas tax just isn't enough because cars gas mileage is better today". Absolute BULL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The state has stolen over 3 Billion dollars from the highway fund to balance the budget over several different years. If the CROOKS in RALEIGH knew how to run this state there would be ample money for highway projects. But NO, they just levy more taxes & steal from whatever state fund has money to cover their out of control spending. I personally will NEVER ride the toll road and I'm going to vote against every state legislator that I can to do my part to run the crooks out of Raleigh and NC politics.

  • thdeerslayer Aug 21, 2009

    I missed typed, FastPass, not EX pass. mea culpa