Statement on Interstate 81 Improvements

April 5, 2019

As a former State Trooper for over 25 years, School Board Member, Board of Supervisors Representative, and now your State Delegate, I have always done my best to protect and serve my constituents.

Two days ago, the General Assembly reconvened, addressing bills the Governor either vetoed or amended. Senator Obenshain’s Senate version and Delegate Landes’ House version of the bill to improve Interstate 81 were among those bills.

I voted in favor of the bill amendments. This legislation provides approximately $150 million annually for interstate 81 improvements and creates an I-81 corridor fund. These improvements will help reduce approximately 450 traffic accidents each year, lessen accident related travel delays, and save lives.

The amendments will raise revenue by increasing truck registration fees, road taxes, and diesel taxes on commercial vehicles phased in over three years. Even with these increases, Virginia remains at or below average for commercial vehicle fees and taxes in comparison to surrounding states. Additionally, revenue generated from a 2.1% tax increase on gasoline and diesel fuel sales along the I-81 corridor all goes to funding I-81 improvements.

Revenue captured from the 2.1% gas and diesel tax may require distributors to increase payments to the state by 7 cents per gallon. This provides a continuous funding source for I-81 and allows highway department funds to be used for primary and secondary road maintenance and improvements.

We all know the dangers of traveling on I-81 and its economic significance. The first study for improvement was in 1997, yet nothing has been accomplished. As a road trooper working on I-81, I have witnessed the devastation caused by accidents. Lives are at risk and businesses are experiencing setbacks. This legislation provides the best solution to fix the interstate. I will always work to improve public safety for my constituency.

Ronnie Campbell

Delegate, 24th District