A Tale of Two Policies

Posted on January 11, 2016 in: I-66I-66 Inside the Beltway

A third westbound I-66 lane already exists west of Ballston. The need for a similar eastbound lane is obvious. The McAuliffe administration’s rush to forge an agreement to toll I-66 Inside the Beltway with no certainty that new eastbound capacity will be added for a decade or more is unfortunate.

A recent Virginia Business Magazine article noted that Delegate Chris Jones (R-Suffolk) plans to submit a bill in this upcoming General Assembly session, in consultation with the McAuliffe administration, that would help guide the Commonwealth’s future decisions on the use of tolls.

Commenting on the need for the legislation, Virginia Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Lane stated: “We need to have some good policies on tolling. One being that we can’t put a fixed toll on a project that doesn’t have an alternative, and two, no more tolling facilities until they have added a new capacity.”   In speaking about a transportation project in Hampton Roads last summer, Governor McAuliffe made similar comments:  “This project…called for collecting tolls before any new capacity had been built.  I felt this placed an undue burden on the citizens of the Hampton Roads region….”

New Capital Beltway and I-95 express lanes opened with tolls.  New I-66 outside the Beltway express lanes will be tolled.

The studies upon which the I-66 Inside the Beltway proposal is based show adding a lane in both directions provides the most multi-modal flexibility and does the most to reduce congestion, improve vehicle and transit travel times and reduce diversion to local roads.

Whether the deal on I-66 Inside the Beltway can be modified remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain

One Standard For I-66 Inside the Beltway and Another For all Other Projects Compromises Our Region’s Competitiveness and Quality of Life