TOLLROADSnews: Washington Times editorial on [Virginia] HOT lanes
Unfortunately, the opposition to tolling VA I-95 is far more widespread than one editorial in one newspaper.
Agreed. But the opponents have to be educated that the alternative is an increase in the Commonwealth's motor fuel tax rates.
I've seen numerous comments from people who are aware that the tolls would support major capacity addition, who still oppose tolls on the notion of "double taxation", i.e. paying tolls on top of road use taxes.
For the indefinite future, there will
be a tax on motor fuels (including electric power for electric motor vehicles, if that becomes popular). Especially in a state like Virginia, where with the exceptions of Arlington and Henrico Counties, all "county" (secondary) highways are maintained by the Commonwealth in the form of VDOT and not by the counties.
Your point about double taxation on toll roads in the U.S. is correct, but I don't see what can be done about that, unless we want to measure the miles that every
vehicle drives on every U.S. street, road and highway open to the public. For trucks and buses that are required to report state-by-state miles because they operate interstate (or to Canada) and weigh over 26,000 pounds (and must display IFTA stickers
), it strikes me as reasonable to give them a break from road use/fuel taxes that they pay for miles driven on toll roads, though even for that, the U.S., Canada and Mexico might be better off requiring those trucks to explicitly pay for all
freeway use, perhaps using technology similar to what Germany uses to toll all heavy trucks (and only trucks) operating on its autobahn
network (details here
(site comes up in German, click "English" if you don't read German)).
I see I-95 as a "super corridor" or "principal Interstate", where the needs are so great, that I would love to see funding in the form of tolls + road use taxes.
An I-95 with 10 or more lanes between Richmond and Washington, and upgraded interchanges, would be well worth it. E-ZPass and open road tolling would allow tolling at full highway speeds.
Not sure I would like to see a new functional class or other way of designating I-95, beyond what it is today, a freeway. And given that it attracts a lot of traffic from non-E-ZPass states (even though N.C. is now a member of the E-ZPass IAG), I think cash tolling might need to be an option for some years to come, though I understand the Maine Turnpike is under pressure to go cashless at its southernmost toll barrier on the Maine Turnpike, which is I-95.
I would not mind seeing the entire thing tolled from the Maryland/Delaware border all the way south to South Carolina/Georgia border at the Savannah River - if the revenue was used to improve the corridor
. And I say that as a regular user of most of that road.