HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - If you travel on the Pocahontas Parkway, get ready to start paying a little more.
Staring April 1, tolls for two-axle vehicles on the road are increasing 20 cents to $4.50 at the Main Toll Plaza and 15 cents to $2.60 at the Laburnum/New Market and Airport Drive ramp toll points.
“Tolls are getting a little stiff, I think,” said Joan Epps, of Varina.
Globalvia, which is a private company that owns the Pocahontas Parkway, last raised tolls in January of 2018.
Since the road is privately owned, it does not receive state of federal financial support. Instead, it relies on the toll money to support all operations, financing costs and maintenance including snow removal and paving.
“It is very smooth,” Epps said. “A very smooth ride.”
“I didn’t know all those details,” said Pablo Gonzalez, who travels the parkway daily. “Now we can understand where the money is going and I guess it’s a little less painful.”
Gonzalez drives the Pocahontas Parkway at least twice a day, roughly five days a week.
“It’s a lot of money that I have to put out every month,” he said.
When the toll increase hits April 1, Gonzalez will end up paying at least $45 every week to travel to his job in Henrico’s east end.
“When you’re in a time where people are trying to conserve their money and spend it on the necessities that [raises] questions, said Donte Jackson, who tries to avoid tolls in general.”
The increase is allowed to happen due to a negotiated contract between VDOT and Globalvia. There’s a provision that allows the company to adjust tolls rates to cover costs, but some people feel the increase will hurt their wallets.
“It kind of takes a toll on you, no pun intended,” said Donte Jackson, who tries to avoid tolls in general.
Here’s a look at the new rates:
Over the past year, Pocahontas Parkway completed a renovation of the pavement on main travel lanes as well as the Airport Connector.
In July 2018 new technology was installed to allow drivers to easily pay at both the manual toll lanes and at the ramps. It allows customers to pay via credit card or cash.
A spokesperson said the toll increase will help support these kinds of improvements in the future.
My husband usually does the driving and he doesn't worry about the tolls,” Epps said. “So if we want to get over there, we go over there."
While the toll may be one of the highest in the area, the company said more than 6 million cars and trucks travel the 8.8 miles every year. For Gonzalez, taking the parkway is the quickest and most efficient route for him instead of using I-64.
“I’ve done it in the past, but probably took me 20 minutes out of my route,” Gonzalez said.
For more information on the parkway or toll increase, click here.
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