TRALA Opposes Virginia Proposal to Toll Interstate 95
- By: Shannon Davison
- On: 01/08/2013 13:45:05
- In: Legislative Bulletins
TRALA is opposing the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) proposal to toll Interstate 95. Virginia has applied to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for approval to toll Interstate 95 under the Interstate System Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Pilot Program (ISRRPP), a pilot project which allows three states to apply to FHWA for permission to toll existing interstates. Virginia has already been granted "conditional provisional approval" to toll I-95, and is now conducting outreach efforts to local communities and business groups in the state.
VDOT's current proposal favors tolling I-95 in a single location in Sussex County, between mile markers 20 and 24. TRALA is concerned that this will negatively affect its members and their customers by unfairly targeting commerce and trucks, as they depend on the I-95 corridor for the movement of goods. As with most tolling plans, this proposal would charge trucks significantly more than a passenger car to use the interstate, in this case three times as much.
The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB), which is comprised of 17 members that were appointed by the Governor and approved by the legislature, is scheduled to hear a presentation on the tolling proposal from VDOT staff on June 20. Prior to that presentation, TRALA President and CEO Thomas James sent a letter to CTB members which detailed TRALA's opposition to the proposal.
TRALA's stance is fueled by the fact that existing interstate highways have been funded by the many taxes and fees paid by TRALA members and their motor carrier customers. This includes vehicle registration fees and fuel taxes paid to the Commonwealth of Virginia, as well as federal excise taxes on truck, trailer, and tire purchases, heavy vehicle use taxes, and federal fuel taxes paid to the federal government.
TRALA's problems with tolling existing highways are compounded by the fact that many TRALA members are often held liable for toll violations committed by the vehicle operators. As James points out in his letter, this is mostly due to flawed "transfers of liability" systems, as well as attempts to collect funds from TRALA members for toll violations that occurred several years earlier. James states in his letter to the CTB that "The burden of funding transportation infrastructure development and maintenance should not fall unfairly on the commercial truck transportation industry."
TRALA also had the opportunity to express its concerns to top VDOT staff at a meeting organized by the Virginia Trucking Association (VTA) last week. To see the letter from TRALA to the Commonwealth Transportation Board, please click here. For questions, contact TRALA's Joe Sculley at email@example.com or by calling (703) 299-9120.