State Gets Initial OK From Feds For I-95 Tolls

The Federal Highway Administration has given tentative approval to a plan that will bring tolls to Interstate 95 in North Carolina.

The state Department of Transportation said in a statement Friday that the agency gave its approval contingent on the outcome of the standard environmental and permit-seeking process.

The state says the tolls will pay for extensive renovations to the major highway corridor, including widening parts of the Interstate to six and eight lanes, raising and rebuilding bridges and making repairs to pavement. The work is estimated to cost $4.4 billion.

Current funding without the tolls only accounts for about 10 percent of that cost.

State officials hope to be able to start construction in 2016, with toll collection beginning three years later.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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If you drive I-95 a lot- you could have to pay a toll soon, and you have a chance to speak out about it

The N.C. Department of Transportation had the first of several public hearings in Rocky Mount Thursday. It is considering I-95 tolls to pay for improvements to widen parts of the interstate to 6 and 8 lanes, raise and rebuild bridges, and repair pavement. It says it would cost about $4.4 billion, and the state can only pay about 10 percent. Advance Moving & Storage workers in Greenville say they're on I-95 at least a couple times a week, and say with the cost of gas on the rise and having to cut their rates because of the recovering economy, every extra dollar will add up.

"You're wanting to monitor your expenses and you're trying to monitor where your money goes and trail that so - I mean, like I said, it is an added expense," said Aaron Bunch of Advance Moving & Storage.

There will also be 4 more hearings starting next week in Dunn, Smithfield, Wilson, and Cumberland County.

The DOT says this would be a 20-year project. It says it's hoping to start work on the highway from Robeson County to I-40 in Johnston County in 2016.

They would then add tolls and continue working on the rest of the interstate in 2019. It says it's goal would be to finish the project in 2032.

Statistics show more people die in crashes on I-95 in North Carolina than on that interstate in any other state. Now, officials want to improve I-95, and they want tolls to pay for it.

It's a hot topic, and it was the focus of a public hearing in Rocky Mount Thursday. Transportation officials think tolls will be needed to cover the 4.4 billion dollar price tag of the interstate improvements. They also plan to make long-distance truckers, out-of-state drivers and those who go more than just a few miles on I-95 to be the ones who pay the tolls.

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  • by Indynnc Location: Raleigh on Feb 23, 2012 at 06:02 AM
    There is a Federal gas tax [it was $0.05 per gallon) on every gallon of gas that is allocated to states to repair the Interstate highway system. With I-95 being the major North/South highway on the East Coast, I would think NC should be getting a sizable amount from the Federal Government to repair I-95. How is all this money being allocated by NC? Is it like the "Education Lottery" money that goes into the general fund and then used for projects other than what they were intended? It's kind of funny that NC decides to put a toll on I-95 after they received little objection to putting a toll on the southern loop of I-540 around Raleigh. Enough is enough. Time for taxpayers to stand up and "just say no". Gas in NC is higher than VA or SC due to all the road taxes already. What's with that?
  • by anoymous Location: Williamston on Feb 18, 2012 at 01:17 PM
    My family and I strongly disapprove of the proposed toll project because it's a big waste of hard-working taxpayers' dollars,and I'd love to know where all the money is going anyways to help fund such a project? I'm pretty certain that the money's going into the state government's pockets. Besides, as high as gas is, adding toll fees would even further strain the pockets of those who use 95 frequently.
  • by Frank Sinatra Location: Heaven on Feb 17, 2012 at 08:40 PM
    Just a tax under another name. I highly doubt all the money will go for what is being stated. Politicians are known for saying one thing and doing another.
  • by Going back to Myrtle Bch on Feb 17, 2012 at 06:17 PM
    I figure to fill up in Virginia and SC. Take 17 S to Myrtle Beach, Can't afford to park at EI. Myrtle Beach is FREE PARKING every block and it's right on the beach. NC has one of the highest gas taxes in the states. Let the tax improve I-95. By the way I just moved from NC and the cost of everything is usually cheaper here. Plus they have JOBS!!!!
  • by Transplanted Yankee Location: ENC on Feb 17, 2012 at 06:04 PM
    If all this work is going to be done on I95, then NCDOT would be smart to copy FL toll roads. You exit the highway (much like a truck weigh station) to pay the toll, unless you have a "Sun Pass." NC would hopefully institute an EZ Pass or something similar (how about naming it a Wright Pass) where you would still have to pay for it, but it's a whole lot less than paying tolls and a heck of a lot easier. So many people are correct on this site, when they say I95 drivers don't stop in NC. I've driven it a lot when I lived up north and just drove right on through.
  • by Wharf Rat Location: OIB on Feb 17, 2012 at 04:55 PM
    Everyone in N.C. knows how to avoid I-95...YEEEEHAWWWW make dem Yankees PAY!!!
  • by Anonymous on Feb 17, 2012 at 04:27 PM
    As long as they put the tolls at the borders of VA. and S.C., i'm for it. I never use I-95.
  • by Harry Location: Goldsboro on Feb 17, 2012 at 04:15 PM
    Well NC has fallen victim to Yankeefication. Guess it is not really all that bad of an idea as most of the plates are NY, MJ, PA, MD, CT, etc so it is only fair they pay their fair share. Besides, don't need poor folks clogging the Interstate with their junk cars. If they charge ten cents a mile they can get $18.20 per car for traffic passing through the state one-way. What a racket!
  • by Billy Bob Location: South on Feb 17, 2012 at 03:11 PM
    Hmmmm? Sounds to me like another Global Transportation Park rip off. Easy enough to get around rent billboards showing how to bypass I-95 in NC. Next it'll be VA then SC.
  • by Tom Location: USA on Feb 17, 2012 at 11:11 AM
    Nothing more than another TAX - "necessary improvements" is both a joke and an insult. People don't die on I-95 in NC because of it being 2-laned in most areas or because it is congested - they die in NC because there is virtually no NCSHP or other enforcement on that interstate anymore in NC, especially when compared to other states. As such, I-95 in NC is now a free-for-all: speeding, tailgating, reckless and aggressive. These road changes would be "nice" but they are not "necessary" for anything. A clever way for bureaucrats to create a new revenue source on behalf of spineless politicians who lack the leadership or character to be honest - this approach gives them deniability.

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