FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 21, 2015
Contact: Marti Meersman
Phone: (703) 264-1432
Toll Plan for I-66 Inside the Beltway Should be Scrapped
Proposed plan would toll commuters in both directions with no free lanes;
road would not be widened
(Chantilly, VA)—Del. Jim LeMunyon (R-67-Fairfax/Loudoun) has called for a halt to plans to toll and not widen I-66 inside the Beltway. The plans were first announced by Virginia’s Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne in March 2015, and have support from certain local government officials in Fairfax and Arlington Counties. Unless this plan is stopped, tolling is expected to begin in 2017.
LeMunyon, who represents thousands of I-66 commuters in Western Fairfax and Eastern Loudoun Counties, expressed several concerns today in a letter to Secretary Layne focused on the inside the Beltway plan for I-66. A copy of the letter may be found here.
“According to VDOT’s own numbers, Northern Virginians waste 900,000 hours in traffic congestion each work day. Everyone but the congestion-deniers knows that I-66 needs more vehicle capacity inside the Beltway, especially at the eastbound intersection of the Dulles Connector Road,” said LeMunyon.
“The McAuliffe Administration’s plan specifically excludes use of toll money to widen the road or fix this intersection for at least 10 to 25 years. Instead toll revenue would be used starting in 2017 to fund walk ways, bike paths and other ‘multi-modal’ projects. This is specifically included in the Secretary’s written presentation. In my view, it’s quite possible the planned toll would worsen congestion by chasing traffic off of I-66 and onto U.S. 50, U.S. 29, and neighborhood streets in McLean, Falls Church, and Arlington,” said LeMunyon.
The plan calls for placing a toll in both directions on I-66 inside the Beltway during the weekday morning and afternoon peak periods, not just in the traditional “rush hour” direction. Toll pricing would vary, as it does on the Beltway. But unlike the Beltway, there would be no free lane option. Single passenger and HOV-2 vehicles would have to pay the toll. HOV-3 and higher vehicles would not.
“No detailed analysis has been provided by VDOT on expected toll prices, hours of tolling, expected revenue, or expected impact on traffic congestion,” said LeMunyon. “This information should have been available when the plan was announced. Instead, the public is being kept in the dark while the plan moves forward.”
LeMunyon pointed out that problems with the plan have been noted by the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance, which consists of leading business organizations in Northern Virginia. The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously earlier this month to oppose the McAuliffe Administration’s plan.
LeMunyon also noted in his letter that significant revenue from the 2013 tax bill is already available to address regional transportation improvements, plus $86 million that was earmarked for walkways and bike paths in the 2014 bond approved by Fairfax County voters.
Plans for I-66 inside the Beltway are separate and distinct from plans for I-66 outside the Beltway. A copy of the March 2015 presentation of the inside the Beltway plan may be found here. The reference to bike paths and walks ways may be found on pages 9 and 14.
Public comments are being accepted by VDOT here.
# # #