Lawmakers in the North Carolina House have voted to allow tolls for I-95, but only for any new lanes that are built.
In a unanimous vote they approved legislation giving the state transportation department the OK to add new lanes to the route with tolls, but only if drivers have the option of using the current lanes for free.
The Senate and Gov. Pat McCrory are expected to concur with the decision, which would result in a big blow to the state DOT which had hoped to toll all lanes of I-95 to help pay for a more than $4 billion expansion of the 182 mile route between the Virginia and South Carolina borders.
This follows the state DOT releasing a study last week showing that without tolls if will have a little less than half a billion dollars over the next decade to expand the freeway.
Trucking, citizen groups and others have been fighting heavily against tolling all of North Carolina’s section of I-95.
A little more than two years ago the Federal Highway Administration gave North Carolina permission to put tolls along I-95 as part of a pilot project.
Virginia is one of two other states that received permission from the federal government for the toll program for its section of I-95 however, legislation that was passed and just signed into law by its governor places limits on it. The other state that received the federal go-ahead for the tolling program is Missouri for its section of I-70.