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Judge won't allow tunnel tolls during appeal

Tuesday - 5/21/2013, 5:40pm  ET

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (AP) -- A Portsmouth judge has ruled the state can't toll the tunnels from Portsmouth to Norfolk while it appeals his earlier ruling declaring the tolls unconstitutional.

The Virginian-Pilot reports ( Circuit Judge James A. Cales Jr. denied the state's request to suspend his May 1 ruling on Tuesday.

That ruling stemmed from a group of businesses and residents who sued in 2012 claiming the Virginia Department of Transportation and Elizabeth River Crossings don't have the authority to impose taxes. The lawsuit claims the tolls are taxes because the existing tunnels' construction costs have been paid. The state wants the tolls to build a second tunnel and refurbish the existing tunnels, among other things.

The state has said work on the project will continue while Cales' decision is appealed.

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