The I-66 Inside Beltway Hokey Pokey ……. Politics: That’s What It’s all About
The Alliance has often praised Governor McAuliffe’s for his strong advocacy for taking politics out of transportation project selection and implementation.
Yet in terms of I-66 inside the Beltway the problem IS politics.
Opposition from a single jurisdiction has created the possibility of another 10 years of increasingly congested travel conditions for thousands of Arlington and other area residents on an interstate highway and higher traffic volumes on North Arlington Streets.
Fixing I-66 Inside the Beltway requires acknowledging that congestion is not limited to the peak direction rush hours. A third lane westbound from the Ballston already exists. Its construction did not involve the taking of homes or destruction of the environment.
Tolls should be used to construct a similar eastbound lane now in a similar manner while committing future toll revenues to transit improvements in the corridor. This would enable bus transit and auto highway users to spend more time doing more productive things and less time sitting in traffic weekdays and weekends.
The 2012 and 2013 I-66 Multimodal Studies, upon which this proposal is based, showed that the multimodal packages that add a lane in both directions provide the most multimodal flexibility and do the most to reduce congestion, improve vehicle and transit travel times and reduce diversion to local roads. So let’s add the new lane now rather than in 10 years (or more).
The sooner we remove the politics from I-66 inside the Beltway and other projects, the sooner we will get our region moving again.