Tolls on Pocahontas Parkway go up today

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A 25-cent toll increase on the Pocahontas Parkway takes effect today. Drivers will now pay $2.75 to use the road.

This is the second of two price increases. Transurban Group, the operator of the parkway, says the decision to increase the toll price again was not taken lightly, but was absolutely necessary.

"We are a self-sustaining toll road, so we don't receive state taxes or local taxes, so all the tolls support our road," said Andi Kuhn, Director of the Pocahontas Parkway, "So we felt it was something we needed to do this second phase of the toll road increase as planned."

Kuhn says the money collected at the tolls will go directly toward road maintenance and upkeep. It will also pay for the airport connector scheduled to open in 2011, Kuhn says, as well as toward some factors motorists probably don't think about.

"We do feel that we're providing good value," Kuhn said. "Some things on the roadway the customers will see that are changes, some they won't see. Some are clear value enhancers - safety cameras, weather stations that monitor wind speeds."

Those changes could certainly be a benefit to drivers as rough wintry weather is expected to move into the area tomorrow.

While many residents around the area use the Pocahontas Parkway because of its convenience, some say the increasing cost is quickly killing the appeal of using the road to quickly get around town.

"Too much, too much," said driver Calvin Marbury. "I mean its a great convenience but at what price? I'm not pleased with it. It impacts my bottom line as being an independent contractor. Every bit that adds onto my overhead, I'm not happy."

Transurban Group says the next toll increase isn't expected until 2011, when the fare will increase from $2.75 to $3.00.

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