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PORTSMOUTH-- Portsmouth City Council voted 7-0 Tuesday night to help fund a lawsuit against tolls on the Midtown and Downtown tunnels.

The $50,000 will be used for legal fees.

Drivers will pay a toll, as much as $1.84 per car, beginning January 2014 to pay for a new Midtown tube and improvements to the Downtown Tunnel and the Martin Luther King freeway. The public-private partnership between Elizabeth River Crossings and the Va. Dept. of Transportation is expected to cost $2.1 billion.

Mayor Kenny Wright says the tolls will hurt the city and he believes the toll is unconstitutional, calling it a tax and that only the General Assembly can raise taxes.

The lawsuit by Tidewater Against Unfair Tolls was filed in July 2012. The first hearing is set for May 1 in Portsmouth Circuit Court.

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