ATA rallies opposition to I-81 toll plan

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The American Trucking Associations wants truckers to lobby against Virginia’s plan to implement truck-only tolls that would cost truckers $120 to drive 325 miles of Interstate 81. The state’s adoption of the proposal has garnered opposition from many parties, including local governments and some state legislators.

NATSO opposes the proposal, saying the plan would force truckers onto roads inadequate for increased truck traffic and also would feed national interest in privatizing interstate highways. The state’s Sierra Club chapter opposes it in favor of a rail transportation plan, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation opposes it to protect historic places and rural areas along the interstate.

In 2001, Star Solutions, a consortium of road builders, submitted a proposal to the Virginia Department of Transportation that included widening the whole I-81 corridor to include separate truck and automobile lanes. Star Solutions’ anticipated funding sources included federal and state funds and truck-only tolls; estimates of the truck-only tolls are 37 cents per mile. Before the work can begin, federal law requires the state to conduct an environmental impact study, a process that includes public hearings, e-mails and letters.