State Supreme Court to rule on fate of tunnel tolls

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by Philip Townsend, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on September 6, 2013 at 6:17 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 6 at 6:21 PM

PORTSMOUTH -- In less than a week, the Virginia Supreme Court will decide the fate of tunnel tolls in Hampton Roads.
 
The State is appealing a Portsmouth Circuit Court Judge's decision that found tolls at the Midtown and Downtown Tunnels are unconstitutional.

Circuit Judge James A. Cales Jr. ruled in favor of the Citizens Against Unfair Tolls on May 1.

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.

The tolls, set to begin in 2014, would pay for a second Midtown Tunnel, improvements to the Downtown Tunnel and expanding the expressway.
 
Portsmouth Attorney Steve Heretick called it the Super Bowl of court cases and said he believes the case will come down to one main issue.
 
"I think it's that distinction, whether tolls are a tax or a user fee. That's at the core of this case," Heretick said.
 
The state's high court is expected to hear the case at 10 a.m. Wednesday, September 11 in Richmond.
 

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