The Federal Highway Administration a week ago gave the state of Virginia preliminary approval to charge tolls on I-95, but North Carolina officials say they haven't made up their mind on whether to follow suit. Virginia Department of Transportation officials said tolls could generate $50 million a year for expanding the highway, repaving and improving road safety.
North Carolina has also applied for federal permission to toll I-95. Consultants are finishing up a two-year study of the highway in North Carolina, and state officials could make recommendations by the end of the year.
I-95 is the state's deadliest highway. Most of it remains four lanes wide – the same width as when it was built decades ago – and it doesn't meet modern safety standards. The state has to find some way to cover the estimated $5 billion to $6 billion repair bill for I-95 over the next 20 years.