09/19/2011 01:40 pm ET Updated Nov 19, 2011

Federal Highway Administration OKs Tolls For I-95 In Virginia

WASHINGTON -- The Federal Highway Administration has given its conditional blessing to Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's plan to toll portions of Interstate 95 in the commonwealth. In a statement, the governor said:

"I-95 is one of the most important and heavily traveled highway corridors in the country, linking population and commercial centers up and down the East Coast. Limited funds and growing capital and maintenance needs have led to deficient pavements and structures, congestion, higher crash density and safety concerns. This approval is a major step toward funding critical capacity and infrastructure improvements needed in this corridor. The Commonwealth cannot continue to be a leader in economic development and job creation if we do not address our transportation needs. Earlier this year, the General Assembly passed my transportation plan setting the framework for investing $4 billion in our transportation network over the next three years. The ability to toll I-95 will help leverage this investment by funding transportation improvements in this vital corridor."

As The Washington Post reported in May, the section of I-95 the McDonnell administration is considering tolling is close to the North Carolina border, well to the south of D.C.'s Northern Virginia suburbs. As the Virginian-Pilot reports:

Adding tolls to a roughly 126-mile stretch of interstate from the North Carolina border to the Fredericksburg area could generate an estimated $30 million to $60 million a year to fund highway projects, the [McDonnell] administration said at the time of its request.

Virginia, through a partnership with Fluor-Transurban, is currently building high-occupancy toll lanes on its portion of the Capital Beltway near Washington and has proposed adding similar toll lanes on I-95 between Alexandria and Stafford County.

Flickr photo by taberandrew