North Carolina is following the lead of other Southeastern states in proposing tolls for Interstate 95 to help pay for repairs and expansion.
I-95 needs about $4 billion in repairs in North Carolina, state Department of Transportation officials said. That includes replacing dozens of bridges and adding lanes to the highway's 182 miles of asphalt across the state.
DOT officials have discussed the toll-road plan with federal highway officials. But North Carolina law prohibits tolling an existing road, so the General Assembly would have to approve the change.
"This follows the plan of Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia in making those improvements. The study is underway, and it no way implies you'll see construction equipment in the next few months," state Transportation Secretary Lyndo Tippett said.
South Carolina wants to start collecting tolls in 2009. Virginia lawmakers have already passed a bill that would allow the state to share tolls collected at the state border with North Carolina.
Drivers said Wednesday that they don't like the idea.
"I'm already paying lots of money," said Wilmar Pinargote, who noted he would look for another route from Florida to New York if tolls are levied. "I try to save money. I need to save money for my family."
Our state law states that an existing road can not be made into a toll road. The law does allow tolls on new roads being constructing. But it doesn't suprise me that our state legislature is considering breaking the law or changeing to so that they can collect more taxes. Yes a toll is a tax. And don't believe that if tolls are set up that they will be used just for repairs on that road. The money will be pulled for whatever the legislature wants. Don't believe me, what about the lottery? Remember it wouldn't replace any existing education money, but within a week it was.