Putting Tolls on Trucks Could Hurt the Local Economy

By: Sonia Randev
By: Sonia Randev

Bill Jones has been driving trucks on I-81 for the past 20 years.

He says his company would find other ways to get around if there were toll on the interstate.

"They won't use the toll road, they'll get over on Rt.11 or 29," says Jones.

Jones says having tolls would also cost truckers time. And, time he says is the key in the trucking business.

"Each toll you know you could probably figure a 10 minute delay. That may not seem a lot but by the time you get your truck up to speed, it's gonna take 10 minutes," says Jones.

"There's a lot of concern that its going to put a lot of trucking companies out of business," says Ben Carter, the President, Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Carter says tolls would not only impact trucking companies and manufacturers who ship their products by truck, but also affect local jobs.

"These businesses, they do not have deep pockets. There is only so much they have to spend on expenses and so forth. So if their expenses increase as far as shipping their products. The only other place they can make up for that is reducing jobs," says Carter.

And, Carter says facilities along side 81, like the restaurants and fuel shops could also feel the hit.

"I actually spent a lot of money on food while on 81. If they do that they will definitely lose all that money," says Insmeil Gomez, a truck driver.

The panel's recommendation now goes to the VDOT commissioner for further study.


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