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Virginia Examines Congestion Charging for Revenue
Virginia Department of Transportation studies congestion taxing roads to increase revenue without building additional road capacity.

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Virginia's Department of Transportation (VDOT) is studying the use of tolls on interstate highways as a means of raising revenue. Officials explain that the new money would not be used to expand existing roadways or add capacity to high-growth parts of the state. Instead, the "congestion charge" concept is meant to discourage motorists from using the freeway for what VDOT considers "non-essential" trips, such as going to the grocery store.

An official study of the congestion tax is underway in the Hampton Roads area, and VDOT officials are also considering a former governor's proposal to toll every freeway in Northern Virginia.

The idea faces public opposition. Of 1280 votes given in an online poll by the Virginian-Pilot newspaper, 78 percent expressed opposition to the Hampton Roads congestion tax. Two years ago, transportation officials quickly abandoned a similar plan after residents complained.

In the only public referendum on a congestion tax, the Scottish capital city of Edinburgh voted 3-to-1 against the idea in February. London, UK implemented a congestion tax without public input and makes more money from tickets issued to individuals who forget to pay the charge than from the charge itself. Each visit to London costs residents US $14.50.

Article Excerpt:
"Value pricing says that if you commute during the high-volume time, you would pay a higher toll than someone who went through at, say, noon," said Dennis W. Heuer, VDOT's Hampton Roads district administrator.
Source: VDOT to study congestion tolls for rush-hour traffic (Virginian-Pilot, 9/26/2005)

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