We may need the General Assembly to fix I-81, but fixing I-81 is not a political issue: it’s a safety issue, it’s a quality-of-life issue and it’s time. That is why the legislation introduced before the General Assembly is bi-partisan — people on both sides of the aisle support fixing I-81 for the simple reason that it impacts the lives of all Virginians.
Since there is widespread agreement that I-81 must be fixed, the only real question left is what is the best way to pay for the improvements? The fact is, these improvements come with a cost, and the money to fix I-81 has to come from somewhere. The bi-partisan bills introduced before the General Assembly present the best solution.
We encourage you to read the full text of bills, which can be found here: House Bill 2718 and Senate Bill 1716. But, since legislation is not always user-friendly, below are facts about the proposed legislation:
- FACT: Virginians support tolls for improvements. A recent poll shows that those living along the I-81 corridor prefer tolls as a way to pay for improvements.
- FACT: If you don’t drive it, you don’t pay it — only users of I-81 would pay tolls.
- FACT: The only feasible alternative to tolling would be to increase both the gas tax and sales tax in the corridor — unnecessarily impacting even those who never drive on I-81.
- FACT: There would be no toll-related backups on I-81. Tolls would be collected electronically through an E-Z Pass system, avoiding backups and delays caused by traditional toll booths.
- FACT: Frequent travelers of I-81 would be able to purchase a low-cost annual pass for a flat fee that would greatly reduce the per-trip cost on I-81. Right now, the proposed cost would be $30/year.
- FACT: Once the tolls are passed, they cannot be raised for eight years. No surprises.
- FACT: 93.5% of the toll revenues would go toward improvements and must be used in the I-81 corridor. Only the remaining 6.5% would be needed to pay for toll collection.
- FACT: The majority of the toll burden — 60% — would be paid by out-of-state drivers.
- FACT: The toll burden would be shared equally by all types of passenger vehicles, even those using alternative fuels.
- FACT: Tolls provide a more reliable and predicable source of money, making it easier to plan and fund the much-needed improvement projects.
Fixing I-81 is not optional – it’s a matter of safety and it’s time. Tell our legislators to support the Interstate 81 Corridor Improvement Program and Fund today. Click here to send a letter.
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