Could tolls come to I-540 in north Raleigh?

Triangle drivers take note -- new tolls could be on the way.
November 27, 2013 3:44:01 PM PST
Triangle drivers take note -- new tolls could be on the way.

Almost a year after opening, the Triangle Express remains unpopular among many drivers. The stretch of road between N.C. 55 in Apex and N.C. 147 is already among the most expensive toll roads in the country.

However, on Jan. 1, rates will go up further by 13 or 18 cents, depending on how you pay.

While raising the cost of a toll road is one thing, putting a new toll on existing roads is another thing entirely. That's what Raleigh City Council is talking about doing on the northern half of Interstate 540.

The reason behind the move is there will be a need for more lanes as more people move into the area. Tolls could pay for those new lanes, but people ABC11 talked to weren't happy about it.

"I think taxpayers make the road and we have to pay for it, but that's just my personal opinion," said driver Peter Tamba.

Raleigh City Councilman Randy Stagner says he feels the same way, and bets his constituents in north Raleigh would agree.

"When you are simply repairing or improving current infrastructure, I think it's problematic to begin to toll those roads and the question is, where would it stop as well," said Stagner.

Where would it stop is a question worth asking, especially with many drivers avoiding toll roads where possible.

"It would be convenient for me, but I'm just not willing to make the payment," said driver Richard Bracey.

There are other options. Stagner says he prefers mass transit to more roads.

"What we need to start thinking about is fewer cars on the road, more busses on the road, and commuter rail," said Stagner.

Many drivers we spoke to urge the state, whatever the decision, to spend its money wisely.

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