RICHMOND(AP) -- The Virginia Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal of a ruling that said tolling the tunnels from Portsmouth to Norfolk is unconstitutional.
The court also agreed on Thursday to expedite the appeal. Arguments for the case will be heard in September.
Portsmouth Circuit Judge James A. Cales Jr. ruled in favor of a group of businesses and residents that sued in 2012 claiming the Virginia Department of Transportation and Elizabeth River Crossings don't have the authority to impose taxes. The lawsuit claims the tolls are taxes because the existing Downtown and Midtown tunnels' construction costs have been paid.
The tolls had been set to go in effect in 2014.
Solicitor General Duncan Getchell will handle the case for the state. He argues for the commonwealth in matters before the Virginia Supreme Court.
Leila Rice, spokeswoman for Elizabeth River Crossings, which is the private group working with the state on the project, told WVEC.com, "We are in receipt of the order from the Supreme Court of Virginia, and we continue to work with our partners at VDOT during the appeal of the circuit court’s order. We will defend our position vigorously. In the meantime, Elizabeth River Crossings remains committed to delivering the project consistent with our agreement with VDOT and the Commonwealth of Virginia in accordance with the terms of the circuit court order. "