Virginia localities fighting proposed I-95 tollsPublished 9:40am Saturday, November 3, 2012
BY ANDREW FAISON/
SUSSEX—Southside Virginia localities have retained the services of Barry Steinberg to look for a way to stop the proposed tolls on Interstate 95.
Steinberg, a lawyer with the law firm Kutack Rock, is no stranger to the area after being hired in 2008 by Southampton, Sussex, Surry, Isle of Wight and Greensville counties to fight the Outlying Landing Field.
“I have been retained by several jurisdictions,” Steinberg said. “They have hired me to essentially look at what VDOT and the Federal Highway Administration are doing and make sure that they do it right. What we see is that they are not doing it right therefore we want the project to stop.”
VDOT has proposed only one tollbooth along I-95. The booth will be located at milepost 22, near the Jarrett interchange.
The state is recommending the tollbooth fee to be set at $4 for cars and $12 for large trucks. The tollbooth will cost $60 million to build, and will only collect an estimated $26 million per year for the first six years.
“That means for the first two years they will not even break even on the toll booth itself,” Steinberg said.
Tolling could begin as early as next year.
Steinberg says the way the statute is written, VDOT will define the toll facility. Currently VDOT has defined the toll facility as 179-mile stretch along I-95, which extends from the North Carolina Border to the Maryland Border.
By the definition VDOT has established, they would be able to use the money collected at the tollbooth anywhere along the 179 miles interstate.
“That looks to us like taking from the poor and giving to the rich, it’s a reverse Robin Hood,” Steinberg said.
To voice your opinion on the topic Steinberg suggests sending a letter to the Federal Highway Administration in Washington, DC.