SCC says Portsmouth does not have to move infrastructure for toll construction

Posted at 11:51 PM, Sep 10, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-10 23:51:14-04

Portsmouth, Va. - Elizabeth River Crossings now has to put the brakes on some of its plans for tunnel work in Portsmouth.

Tuesday, the State Corporation Commission sided with the city of Portsmouth, saying the city doesn't need to move around its infrastructure so ERC can start its toll construction.

"It's a good omen," said Nettie Fisher with the group Citizens Against Unfair Tolls. "We are very hopeful or we would have never started the lawsuit."

Tomorrow the case heads to Richmond and the State Supreme Court.

"At this point, we will feel like we have done everything we can do and it is now in the hands of the State Supreme Court to interpret the law," Fischer said.

In May, a Portsmouth judge ruled the state's contract to expand the Midtown Tunnel, while tolling both the Midtown and Downtown, was unconstitutional. That decision has been appealed and will be heard Wednesday.

The State Supreme Court most likely won't come down with a decision until late fall.

"It's going to be a lot of second guessing between now and then," Fischer said.

The infrastructure work ERC wanted to start can't until the ruling comes down. In a statement, Elizabeth River Crossings says it's just focused on its contract with the state and fulfilling its obligations.

Tolls would cost a daily commuter more than $900 a year. Depending on how the State Supreme Court rules, the tolls may never come.


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