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News & Press: General

I-81 funding package gets approval

Tuesday, April 9, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Bannon Squirewell
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RICHMOND — Virginia legislators gave their stamp of approval Wednesday to two governor-amended bills that establish funding sources for Interstate 81 improvements without the use of tolls.

The action drew quick approval from Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates (ATFI).

“ATFI applauds the General Assembly for accepting the Governor’s new plan to fund improvements to Interstate 81 through funding mechanisms other than tolls. We know Virginians want to improve I-81, and are willing to pay for it. But how they pay for it matters, and they let that opinion be known. We are glad the Governor abandoned his push for tolls in favor of more common-sense transportation funding methods,” said ATFI Communications Director Stephanie Kane.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam recently amended Senate Bill 1716 and House Bill 2718 to specify how proposed improvements in the Interstate 81 Corridor Improvement Plan will be funded. As passed by the General Assembly during the 2019 session, the bills established a dedicated Interstate 81 Corridor Improvement Fund, but failed to establish a mechanism for funding.

Without the source of funding, improvements would have been delayed at least a year until legislators considered funding sources again during the 2020 session.

Northam’s amendments abandoned proposals to fund improvements with tolls. Instead, funding will come from increases in truck registration fees, diesel fuel taxes and the road tax on large trucks to bring them in line with those in other states along the interstate’s 855-mile corridor. A motor fuels tax rate along the corridor also will increase 2.1 percent.

“By using financing mechanisms other than tolls, Virginia is using funding strategies that allow the Commonwealth to maintain control of implementation and enable more money to go toward improving interstates rather than wasting money on tolling bureaucracies. This is smart policy, and other states should take notice,” Kane added.

 

https://www.southwesttimes.com/2019/04/i-81-funding-package-gets-approval/ 


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