Portsmouth group fighting tunnel tolls heads to Richmond

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by Karen Hopkins, 13News

WVEC.com

Posted on June 16, 2013 at 10:21 PM

Updated Monday, Jun 17 at 7:31 AM

PORTSMOUTH- About 50 people, including Portsmouth Mayor Kenny Wright, will be in Richmond Monday to discuss tunnel tolls.

Citizens against Unfair Tolls will meet state Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton to answer questions about the legal battle over tunnel tolls.

Earlier this year, the group of businesses and residents filed a lawsuit to stop tolls planned for the Downtown and Midtown tunnels and the Martin Luther King Jr. Expressway in Portsmouth.

In May, a judge ruled the proposed tolls were unconstitutional. 

Elizabeth River Crossings is planning to appeal that decision to the Virginia Supreme Court.

Connaughton is also expected to address how the tunnel toll ruling could impact other public private transportation projects.

Citizens against Unfair Tolls have called the proposed tolls taxes. Attorneys representing VDOT and Elizabeth River Crossings argued that tolls are not taxes, but user fees.

The tolls, set to begin in 2014, would pay for a second Midtown Tunnel, improvements to the Downtown Tunnel and expand the expressway.
 

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