Virginia: Governor Northam and GOP lawmakers unveil bipartisan plan to use tolls on I-81 to fund $2B in highway upgrades

The big-ticket capital projects – projected to be completed within seven to 10 years – would involve widening the highway to three lanes in both directions near population centers like Winchester, Harrisonburg, Staunton and Roanoke.

As proposed, the tolls would run the entire length of the 325-mile corridor, which runs from Winchester to Bristol and covers six metro areas. The  proposed toll rate is 17 cents per mile.

Toll rates would be capped for smaller cars and trucks used by commuters who use the highway to travel locally. Drivers of smaller vehicles would also be able to buy an annual pass for a fixed fee. The state plan envisioned an annual fee of $30, but officials did not lay out an exact pricing plan Tuesday.

The plan is designed to shift the financial burden away from local residents and onto the truck traffic that puts the most strain on the road.