After last-minute maneuvering, General Assembly passes funding bill for I-81 improvements
The road to funding improvements on I-81 took another twist Wednesday, with the General Assembly voting to increase truck registration fees and impose new fuel taxes along the I-81 corridor.
After last-ditch effort to fund I-81 improvements this year fails, more study, another report, and lots of divergent opinions await
State Sen. Mark Obenshain went out on a limb with a bill to begin tolling on I-81 to pay for $2.2 billion in much-needed improvements to the interstate . Things didn’t work like he’d hoped, however.
“I’m deeply disappointed,” Obenshain said. “We had a commitment to a process last year, and, frankly, I did a pretty uncomfortable thing of taking the result of that process and carrying that legislation.”
On I-81 improvements, legislators detour around tax-or-toll decision and opt for more time
Committees in both chambers of the General Assembly on Thursday approved revised versions of bills by Valley legislators that outline $2.2 billion in needed improvements to I-81 but now no longer explain how to pay for them. The new legislation, which Sen. Mark Obenshain called a “pale shadow of its former self,” was meant to keep I-81 in the foreground of public discussions amid continued disagreement over funding methods.
After Obenshain, Landes introduce legislation to begin tolling I-81, truckers gear up in opposition
Now that valley-area legislators introduced companion bills calling for tolls to fund $2.2 billion upgrades to I-81, the plan’s supporters will face staunch opposition led by truckers, who say the proposal will unfairly target them and will cause a ripple effect in the economy.
As momentum grows for I-81 upgrades, lawmakers prepare to pick between tolls and taxes to cover the $2 billion cost
Toll or tax? That’s a question that state legislators will begin debating next month when the General Assembly convenes for its 2019 session. At issue is Interstate 81 – the increasingly congested, dangerous and routinely backed-up artery that carries hundreds of billions of dollars in goods each year straight through Harrisonburg and western Virginia.