3/9/2006Virginia House Rejects Toll Legislation
Virginia House of Delegates rejects effort to impose tolls in Hampton Roads by a 2-1 margin.
The Virginia House of Delegates delivered a blow to growing efforts to toll roads within the Commonwealth. By a 64-33 vote yesterday, Delegates stripped language from a bill, SB 192, that would have given a new government body the ability to levy tolls in the Hampton Roads area. The bill's sponsor, Senator Marty Williams, withdrew his legislation today since the Hampton Roads Bridge and Tunnel Authority it would have created would be meaningless without the power to charge motorists.
Delegates who voted to water down Williams' legislation expressed concern about forcing motorists to pay for roads that they had already been paid off while a smaller number supported newly elected Governor Tim Kaine (D) who has made imposing tolls and raising taxes a key element of his legislative program. Williams had championed the tolling measure as essential to local growth as well as other legislation to make drivers turn over more money to the government.
"Absolutely no one likes new or higher taxes," Williams said. "However... that path is sometimes unavoidable."