Delegate Landes Introduces Legislation to Address Interstate 81 Corridor Improvements

RICHMOND, VA – Del. R. Steven Landes, R-Weyers Cave, Vice Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, has introduced House Bill 2718, the Interstate 81 Corridor Improvement Program.

“Residents across the 25th District and throughout the Interstate 81 corridor have made it crystal clear that the time to act on Interstate 81 is now. We need safety improvements and congestion relief on Interstate 81 and House Bill 2718 will help move the process forward,” said Landes. “I appreciate the work done by Delegate Terry Austin, R-Buchanan, Senators Mark Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, and Senator Bill Carrico, R-Bristol, as well as Governor Ralph Northam and the various stakeholders that have provided input for this bill. This bill lays a solid foundation by creating dedicated funding to begin the long overdue work to address I-81 improvements.”

House Bill 2718 establishes an Interstate 81 Corridor Improvement Fund supported by user fees assessed on Interstate 81 and restricts the use of revenues in the Fund to improvements identified in the Commonwealth Transportation Board’s (CTB) Interstate 81 Corridor Improvement Plan adopted in December 2018. An Interstate 81 Committee with 13 voting members and 2 ex-officio members will provide oversight and recommendations to the CTB. It also authorizes the CTB to impose user fees on Interstate 81 subject to certain restrictions, including caps on the fees and collection would be through all-electronic means.

User fees will cease to be collected when bonds are paid off and the bill prohibits the imposition of additional taxes for Interstate 81 while user fees are being collected. The bill requires the CTB to offer an annual pass for unlimited use – the cost of which shall not exceed a single round trip user fee for an auto for the entire corridor and for the CTB to annually report on the performance of Interstate 81 – safety, delay and incidents, as well as the status of on-going projects and the Fund. Finally, it authorizes limited increases to user fees to account for inflation if after the $2.2 billion in improvements are constructed there are new needs along I-81, which will require approval from the Interstate 81 Committee.

Landes represents the 25th House District, which includes parts of Albemarle, Augusta, and Rockingham Counties. Landes is currently serving his twelfth term in the Virginia House of Delegates. Visit SteveLandes.com for additional information.

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