I-66 Inside the Beltway; Key Questions Remain
Last week members of the General Assembly’s Joint Commission on Transportation Accountability questioned Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne on the McAuliffe administration’s rush hour I-66 Inside the Beltway tolling and transit proposal.
The Secretary’s answers to key questions and continuing legislative/Alliance concerns
- What is being done to address the severe congestion that occurs on I-66 Inside the Beltway outside of peak periods and on the weekend? Answer: VDOT believes non-peak corridor transit enhancements will reduce non-peak and weekend congestion. Concern: Seriously? Metrorail has operated in this corridor for nearly 30 years and off-peak congestion has steadily worsened.
- Will Inside the Beltway toll revenue fund regional solutions (such as park & ride lots or commuter bus service) that benefit the toll payers along the entire I-66 corridor or just fund Inside the Beltway transit improvements? Answer: VDOT “anticipates” that any transit improvements will benefit the entire corridor. Concern: “Anticipation” is not the same as a plan or specific commitment. More details are needed.
- If I-66 Inside the Beltway is not widened for many years, how will the state guarantee that Inside the Beltway toll payers benefit from transit enhancements? Answer: The entities responsible for managing the toll revenue (NV Transportation Authority for Outside the Beltway; NV Transportation Commission for Inside the Beltway) must demonstrate the benefit to toll paying user. Concern: How these “benefits” are to be measured remains unknown.
- Why is the Commonwealth adding tolls and “enhanced transit” inside the beltway and not concurrently adding the needed additional lanes? Answer: (Sec. Layne) “because of opposition to it [widening] from Arlington County.” Concern: McAuliffe administration’s position is apparently that the opinion of a handful of local politicians on an interstate highway takes precedence over the needs of an entire region. Just think if Eisenhower had felt that way 60 years ago.
Clearly more project details need to be addressed and shared with the public before the I-66 Inside the Beltway project moves forward.
It’s Important to Get I-66 Done Right