I-95 tolling

Published 11:16 am Monday, February 13, 2012

Questions linger when it comes to the Interstate 95 Corridor Study and the possibility of tolling vehicles that use this major north-south artery in North Carolina.

Next week, Northampton County officials and citizens hope to get answers during a public hearing to discuss the results of the study, which aims to improve the safety, connectivity and efficiency of the historical thoroughfare that connects the whole of the eastern coast of the United States.

The hearing will be held from 4-7 p.m. on Monday at The Centre Gallery on the campus of Halifax Community College in Weldon.

At the meeting, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (DOT) will provide information on the proposed plans to improve the interstate through North Carolina. Representatives will be available to answer questions about the project in an informal setting. The opportunity to submit written comments or questions will also be provided.

Northampton County Manager Wayne Jenkins, along with a few county commissioners, plan to attend the meeting hoping to get answers to their questions.

Jenkins noted he has attended several meetings on the matter and the Board of Commissioners along with the Northampton County Economic Development Commission has taken no position on the study.

“I would like to know if the DOT staff has examined all (funding) options,” he said.

In the study, tolling is favored for funding improvements to the interstate. Electronic tolling would be set up every 20 miles along the 182 mile roadway. Each electronic toll would charge drivers approximately $2 resulting in a nearly $20 charge to travel the whole of I-95 within the state.

Concerns over traffic detouring from the interstate onto secondary roads have been a concern.

Jenkins said anything that deters traffic from I-95 is a concern.

“My personal opinion is that tolling is the easy way out,” he said. “There may be other (funding) ways that would not impact the communities near 95.”

Jenkins encouraged citizens and corporate business owners, especially those near the I-95 and NC 46 interchange, to seek answers to their own questions.

Northampton County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Judy Collier said she will not be able to attend the meeting due to a prior engagement, but encourages citizens and business owners to go to the public hearing.

“I would encourage those who have opposition (or questions) to tolling to attend,” she said.

To read the full I-95 Corridor Study visit: http://www.driving95.com/