Yesterday Governor McAuliffe announced that his administration would drop its proposal requiring non-peak direction users of I-66 inside of the Beltway to pay tolls to sit in congestion during AM and PM rush hours. Single occupant drivers travelling in the peak direction (east in the AM; west in PM) would continue to pay tolls, which according to VDOT officials could reach $17 per day for a two-way trip when tolling begins in 2017.
Not requiring drivers to pay tolls to sit in the same congestion they currently sit in for free is a step in the right direction.
An even more positive step would be to acknowledge that I-66 inside the Beltway congestion is not limited to rush hours and dedicating a large portion of any toll revenue to add a third lane in each direction starting in 2020. This would enable bus and auto highway users in that corridor to spend more time with their families and time to do more productive things while spending less time sitting in traffic throughout the day.
The Alliance agrees with Virginia Transportation Secretary Layne who pointed out yesterday in a speech to transportation professionals, “Doing nothing [on I-66 inside the Beltway] has a tremendous cost.” The Alliance believes it’s also always more cost effective to do it right the first time.
Adding a third lane which anyone who uses the corridor knows is needed now will be far less expensive and more beneficial than investing millions in an approach that is clearly inadequate to meet the corridor’s 24/7 needs.
Doing nothing to improve capacity on I-66 inside the Beltway certainly does have a cost to drivers sitting in severe 24/7 congestion and to Northern Virginia’s continued prosperity, security and quality of life.
I-66 Inside the Beltway Congestion Is Not Limited to Rush Hour
Widening Benefits all Users and
Protects Neighborhoods from Cut-Through Traffic