The State Supreme Court has expedited the appeal and will hear it in September. They will rule the tolls are constitutional "tolls" and not taxes for two reasons: (1) The tunnels are all one system. If one is jammed, you take the other one ... and you'll take the new one when it's built, so you're not paying for the existing tunnels twice - you're paying for the new one; and (2) The tolls aren't really taxes ... they are "fees." They could probably put tolls on the existing tunnels even if they weren't building a new one. First judge got it wrong ... it was just politics ... the tolls are coming as scheduled.
"A spokesman for the state attorney general Ken Cuccinelli says: "The revenues raised through the tunnel tolls were user fees to be used solely for a single transportation project. As such, we still believe the tolls cannot be considered a tax and that it is completely within VDOT's authority to set reasonable tolls to pay for the construction, operation, and maintenance of the project."
That's right ... "user fees." Better get that quarter out ... oh wait, it's going to cost a few bucks!
The key thing is they have to use the money for the tunnels. A classic fee is the charge to enter a National Park. It's voluntary to enter, and they use the funds for the park maintenance. On the other hand, if you stay at a hotel and they impose a room tax, that's a real tax because, while it only affects the hotel guests, they don't get any benefit out of it.
No one is forcing you to use the tunnels ... you could leave your car on one side and take the ferry. And the Commonwealth will use the toll funds for the tunnel maintenance and construction. Tolls are constitutional!