A House proposal that won unanimous approval last week to allow limited toll collection on Interstate 95 faced an unexpected challenge from toll foes when it returned for a final House floor vote Tuesday.
The House eventually gave its final approval -- not unanimous, this time -- and sent to the Senate a bill that would let the state Department of Transportation charge tolls only on new lanes added to interstate highways, while guaranteeing that drivers still can use the original lanes without paying tolls.
Rep. Michael Speciale, a New Bern Republican, tried to amend the bill to give the legislature power to veto any DOT decision to add toll lanes to an existing interstate highway. He said he supported the legislature's ongoing efforts to remove politics from transportation decision-making ... but not on toll roads. “I don’t think it’s a good idea to leave it in DOT’s hands” to decide which roads get tolls, Speciale said. “I don’t think we should abdicate our position and turn it over to an unelected bureaucrat, to let DOT make that decision for us.”