McAuliffe Administration’s I-66 Inside the Beltway Proposal Fire! Aim! Ready!

Posted on July 2, 2015 in: I-66I-66 Inside the BeltwayTraffic Congestion

The McAuliffe administration’s plan to toll and transit-enhance I-66 inside the Capital Beltway is problematic in many respects.

Most transportation projects submitted and approved for the region’s long range plans are the result of considerable study and public input. However this proposal has been placed in the plan and scheduled for completion in 2017 with  

  • No traffic analysis of the impact tolling currently free lanes and increasing HOV from 2 to 3 persons will have on traffic flow and what extent it will force potentially thousands of vehicles onto neighborhood streets.
  • No transit analysis of the extent which actual demand exists for increased transit in a corridor that is already served by two Metro lines and multiple bus routes.
  • No fiscal analysis as to how much toll revenue the plan might generate.
  • No public input from inside the Beltway residents whose neighborhoods might be impacted from diverted vehicles or outside the Beltway residents that will now be tolled to use previously un-tolled lanes.

As currently defined this proposal also

  • Forces Traffic to Adjacent Neighborhoods/Streets by adding Non-Peak Direction Tolling of westbound AM and eastbound PM vehicles that currently travel for free without HOV restrictions, a policy that is likely to force many vehicles, particularly PM peak users, off heavily congested I-66 lanes onto relatively uncongested neighborhood streets.
  • Provides No Off-Peak Congestion Relief which is substantial immediately before and after peak period restrictions are in effect and on weekends.
  • Includes No Set-Aside of Toll Revenue for Widening which clearly is needed to relieve traffic congestion and support transit.
  • Kicks the Can Down the Road by proposing to invest tens of millions in transit with no evidence that such investment will measurably reduce congestion while leaving the construction of clearly needed new lanes in each direction to future administrations.

I-66 Inside the Beltway Tolling Proposal

More Political Appeasement Than Congestion Reliefment?