Bipartisan Proposal Would Add Tolls to Fund Interstate 81 Improvements

Jan 8, 2019

A bipartisan proposal outlined Tuesday by the governor and legislators would add tolls to finance improvements to Interstate 81.

The proposal  unveiled by Governor Ralph Northam would establish the Interstate 81 Corridor Improvement Fund.  It would be financed by tolls and total $2.2 billion. 

Northam said cars and small trucks would have the option of purchasing an annual pass to allow unlimited use of the Interstate for a fixed yearly fee.  The legislation also establishes limits on toll rates. The money can only be used for improvements included in an improvement plan adopted last month by the Commonwealth Transportation Board.

Credit Jeff Bossert/Radio IQ

“Interstate 81 is the economic engine of western Virginia, and it’s time we take decisive action to enhance the safety and improve the reliability of this key corridor,” Northam said in a statement Tuesday.

Four Republican legislators from the western part of the state will patron the bills: Mark Obenshain and Bill Carrico in the Senate and Steve Landes and Terry Austin in the House of Delegates.

“We are listening to the citizens who have told us that 81 needs to be improved,” Delegate Terry Austin said in Tuesday's announcement. Austin is a  Republican from Botetourt County. “I am committed to finding a commonsense solution for I-81 to address safety and reliability."

Click here to read the full announcement from the governor's office