Drivers speak out against adding tolls on I-95

Posted at 7:31 PM, Sep 08, 2012
and last updated 2012-09-08 21:10:49-04

Around RIR, they're firing up the grill before Saturday's nascar races get underway.  It's a trip many die-hard fans take every year.  Some live close by, while others jump on I-95.

But what if you had to pay a toll to use it?

"I think they're horrible...taking money out of my pocket,” said Kenny Brooks.

"When I go South to go to the beach and I pay another toll...I'm going to find a way around it,” said Frank Rusk.

And Governor Bob McDonnell's plan to add tolls to the Interstate in Sussex county is heading in a different direction, with a growing list of people against it.

"Putting tolls on existing roads when you're not enhancing the facilities to me is not a place tolls ought to be put,” said George Allen,(R) US Senate candidate.

We caught up with McDonnell's Republican predecessor George Allen - who wants to put the brakes on the proposal.

"This would be one that I think would be tough for businesses in a hard pressed area and families in Southside Virginia already paying these skyrocketing gas prices,” said Allen.

According to Allen, tolls are only necessary for new roads.

"In my view, said, “it's appropriate to expand the size of the transportation pie, and tolls are a direct user fee." 

A spokesperson for Democratic challenger Tim Kaine tells CBS 6, "Governor Kaine believes the solution to Virginia's transportation challenges is comprehensive investment from Richmond and Washington.  That is why he fought for additional state revenues and secured hundreds of millions in federal investments for Virginia transportation projects as Governor.  An over-reliance on toll revenues across Virginia is the direct result of elected officials like George Allen who put no-tax-ever pledges over the best interests of Virginia's families and businesses." -- Kaine for Virginia Communications Director Brandi Hoffine

Back near RIR, drivers we spoke with say, they don't plan to pay on the highway.

"We play plenty of taxes on State government,” said Brooks.  “So, why do I need to pay toll money?" 

The Governor’s spokesperson, Tucker Martin, sent this statement to CBS 6, saying:  "We respect Senator Allen`s position on this matter. The fact is, in policy and politics there will always be the occasional disagreement among friends on a specific issue or two. That`s par for the course.  Without toll revenue, these projects and many other similar projects are simply not possible within the confines of existing revenues. As we move forward, the Governor understands the possible impact of potential toll facilities on local communities and he is committed to working to limit that impact to the greatest extent possible.”

The toll plan still requires Federal approval before it’s a done deal.