PORTSMOUTH, Va. (AP) – Virginia’s governor has pledged to protect drivers from skyrocketing toll debts owed to a private company.Gov. Terry McAuliffe said in Portsmouth yesterday that a proposed budget amendment would cap debt at $2,200 for first-time offenders. Some drivers currently owe as much as $18,000 for crossing the Elizabeth River.The plan would essentially close a loophole. Currently, the Macquarie-Skanska partnership can charge unlimited fees to violators while the DMV withholds their registration. The proposal would require the firm to offer a settlement capped at $2,200 before the DMV can take action.McAuliffe said the skyrocketing debts stem from bad deal struck in 2012 under the previous administration. It was between the state and private firms Skanska and the Macquarie Group, which built and financed crossings of the Elizabeth River.