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RICHMOND-The Virginia Supreme Court has heard the state's appeal to allow tolls on the Downtown and Midtown tunnels.

Close to 200 people poured into the courtroom in Richmond Wednesday morning and auxiliary rooms were setup for people to watch a live broadcast of the hearing.

A big question surrounding the hearing was whether tolls are taxes or user fees.

The state, represented by lawyers with the Virginia Department of Transportation and Elizabeth River Crossings,argued that the tolls are user fees.

'There is an authorized charge for a specific facility,' said attorney Stuart Raphael, who represents ERC.

Attorneys arguing against the current tunnel contract told the seven justices that they're not against tolls - rather the current circumstances of the agreement.

'There's a constitutional way to do this,' stated attorney Patrick McSweeney.

The Va. Supreme Court isn't likely to hand down a decision until their next session - by November 1.

The tolls are set to go in effect in 2014.

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