Virginia considers tolls or taxes to pay for I-81 upgrades

Virginia could put tolls for all drivers on Interstate 81 to fund a $2 billion set of upgrades to the highway.

A draft report to the General Assembly recommends either tolling both cars and trucks or implementing sales and gas tax increases along the I-81 corridor, similar to the taxes already in place in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.

Under the tolling scenario, trucks would be charged no more than 17 cents per mile (about $55 to go the entire length of the highway in Virginia), and cars would be charged up to 11 cents or so a mile. Tolls for both cars and trucks would be lower overnight than during the day to encourage people to drive when the road is usually emptier.

Even at the higher daytime prices, Virginia Transportation Secretary Shannon Valentine said the toll would be one of the lowest in the country but still help address the needs in the corridor, identified through a series of public meetings held as part of the study.