Judge rules against tunnel tolls

Portsmouth, Va.- A Portsmouth Circuit Court judge has ruled in favor of those fighting against the tolls on the Midtown Tunnel, Downtown Tunnel, and the Martin Luther King Freeway.

He ruled that by putting the three roadways together, the state was only looking for revenue and that makes the tolls a tax, saying VDOT does not have the authority to levy a tax.

Only government officials have the authority to impose a tax and the judge says the General Assembly overstepped its boundaries by giving the power to authorize a toll to VDOT.

NewsChannel 3 has confirmed that the state will appeal.

The Office of the Attorney General has released a statement to NewsChannel 3:

“The revenues raised through the tunnel tolls were user fees to be used solely for a single transportation project. As such, we still believe the tolls cannot be considered a tax and that it is completely within VDOT’s authority to set reasonable tolls to pay for the construction, operation, and maintenance of the project. Certainly, we are disappointed with the court’s decision. We expect to appeal.

If this ruling stands and becomes the law of Virginia, it would threaten the commonwealth’s ability to use public-private partnerships to construct major transportation projects. Many tolled projects could require legislative approval before proceeding, which would mean significantly increased costs and construction delays.”

NewsChannel 3 is gathering additional details from the courtroom. They will be posted as they become available.

Related:

Group fighting against tunnel tolls headed to court

Tunnel Tolls to be delayed

The future of tunnel tolls in Hampton Roads

Work begins at Downtown and Midtown Tunnels to install tolls

Tolls get their day in court

Portsmouth mayor wants to spend thousands to prevent tunnel toll

VDOT hands over control of tunnels to Elizabeth River Crossings

Group files lawsuit against tolls

Lawsuit against tunnel toll plans

Despite delay, lawsuit against tolls moving forward

Elizabeth River Crossings buys ads to educate drivers about upcoming tolls

Gov. McDonnell wants tolls delayed

Paying to pay; VDOT proposes extra E-Z Pass fee

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 16,190 other followers