Governor Halts Proposal for I-95 Toll Booths in NC

Wed November 26, 2003 - National Edition

Raleigh, NC (AP) Gov. Mike Easley has put the brakes on a proposal to put toll booths along Interstate-95 as a method for generating highway-improvement money.

A consultant’s report to the state Department of Transportation (NCDOT) proposed putting six toll booths approximately 30 miles apart and charging $3 a car as one option for raising highway money. The fees would have raised $2.4 billion over 30 years.

State Transportation Secretary Lyndo Tippett said in early November that his department would be talking with the U.S. Department of Transportation about the toll booths.

Easley, whose native Nash County lies along the highway, last week did not block Tippett from seeking toll authority from Washington. But the governer would have to approve legislation authorizine tolls on I-95.

"The governer opposes charging tolls on I-95," said Cari Boyce, Easley’s communications director. "We need to keep an eye to the future and look at what needs are down the road, but there must be better solutions than putting up toll booths."

Interstate 95, the major interstate along the nation’s East Coast, runs for 182 miles in North Carolina, from the Virginia state line, near Roanoke Rapids, to the South Carolina line, near Lumberton.

The report to NCDOT revealed that several sections show the strains of a highway that has not been significantly expanded since its completion in 1980, despite nearly a quarter century of increased traffic.