The future of tunnel tolls in Hampton Roads

Posted at 9:12 AM, Apr 16, 2012
and last updated 2012-04-16 12:16:49-04

Sitting in traffic or paying tolls through the downtown and midtown tunnels...

Neither option appeals to drivers here in Hampton Roads, but the Governor and many other local politicians say it's the only way to help congestion.
Governor McDonnell's office told NewsChannel 3 on Friday he would make an annoucement later today about the fate of tolls between Portsmouth and Norfolk.

So far we know the Feds have given a $422 million loan for construction and rehab at the downtown and midtown tunnels and the Martin Luther King Freeway.
And on Friday - the private company working with VDOT, Elizabeth River Crossings, said it has closed the deal for the project. That means they can begin hiring contractors to start work as early as this summer.

Meanwhile, drivers have been told they could start paying tolls by this fall.
And they are still hoping the state can find a way to hit the brakes.
Many have said even delaying the tolls a few years could help the burden on their wallet of paying $1.84  every time they cross the water.

"I realize that for some of the citizens, tolls work the hardship, so if we can find the money we will do it. If the General Assembly would provide some extra money that would be great. I asked the General Assembly for transportation money this year and unfortunately some of the senators shot that down, so we will do the best we can with the existing resources. But when the entire 15 leaders from Hampton Roads say they want the busiest two lane road east of the Mississippi expanded, we're going to get it done."

Meanwhile, other tolls could be coming to Hampton Roads.

Other projects that are being considered right now include a bridge tunnel connecting to the Monitor Merrimac, an expansion for the HRBT, and widening of I-64.