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Del. Landes Discusses Potential Tolls on Interstate 81

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Interstate 81 is in need of some improvements Interstate 81 is in need of some improvements
Delegate Steve Landes Delegate Steve Landes
AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

Commuters on Interstate 81 may soon be paying some tolls.

Virginia transportation officials have suggested a toll road as a way to raise the funds to fix up the road.

Delegate Steve Landes has said that although he supports putting in toll roads, he wants to make sure that people who live in the area aren't among those hit hardest by the price.

“They're talking about a $4 billion need,” Landes said.

Interstate 81 is in need of improvements, and the state is looking into using tolls to make those needed fixes.

“Even with the solutions that VDOT has brought forward, we’re only talking about $2 billion, so that's only about half, but I do think help will be on the way,” Landes said.

Tolls are being considered for commercial trucks and passenger cars on the interstate.

“It seems like when I talk to more and more people, they really like the tolling option if we can make that work and then more importantly make it fair for both the local trucking companies and the local commuters,” Landes said.

Landes has a plan to make sure that people in the area are protected from high toll prices.

“We want to look for how we can protect the local commuter and providing them an opportunity to maybe not have to pay a toll or maybe have a smaller fee that they could use if they're commuting between their work and their home in the valley,” Landes said.

And just days before the election on November 6, he is also encouraging voters to consider where the rest of the money needed to fix the interstate can come from.

“Start asking your federal legislators what are they going to do,” Landes said. “The state does its share, what is the federal government going to do because we still have a $2 billion need for just improvements that need to be made out there and we really could use the federal government's help.”

A public comment period for those proposed changes is going to be open until November 30.

The commonwealth transportation board will finalize it and send it to state lawmakers for the 2019 General Assembly session.