For a Better Commute. For a Better Prince William County.

Marshall concerned over I-66 toll plan

VDOT recently released their “preferred” plans for the Transform 66 project both inside and outside the Beltway.

I have serious concerns about both proposed plans and encourage the citizens of Northern Virginia to learn more about these plans and voice their opinions to VDOT both through the website and at the upcoming meetings.

The Transform 66 plan for inside the Beltway is proposed to begin construction in 2016 and will convert all lanes of I-66 inside the Beltway to HOV-3/Toll lanes during peak hours in both directions.  The estimated tolls could be as high as $17/day which would be over $4,000/year for citizens who use these lanes.  I have numerous concerns but the main one is that these tolls will not be used to add new lanes to I-66 inside the Beltway but rather the funds will be turned over to an unelected board which will use the funds to build bike paths and expand bus services.  The soonest VDOT would even consider adding another lane inside the Beltway would be approximately 10 years from now. 

The Transform 66 plan for outside the Beltway is to convert the existing HOV lane to a 24/7 HOV-3/Toll lane and build another lane in each direction which will also be HOV-3/Toll.  No additional regular use lanes will be built.  Again, I have multiple concerns.  Making the lanes HOV-3 and disallowing Hybrid users from using the new lanes will almost certainly put more vehicles into the regular lanes.  It is also unfair to citizens who made decisions about where to live and what vehicles to purchase based on the current rules.  At a minimum current Hybrid owners should be grandfathered. 

Additionally, these new lanes on I-66 outside the Beltway will be tolled 24/7 which will reduce the number of regular use lanes available during off-peak hours because currently drivers can use the HOV lanes during non-HOV hours.  Lastly, it seems likely that VDOT will also take the existing shoulder lanes that are available for use during peak hours to build the HOT lanes which again, reduces the number of regular use lanes.  

Again, if any of these plans concern you I encourage you to contact VDOT and attend the upcoming meetings.  There will be a meeting at Piney Branch Elementary School, 8301 Linton Hall Road, Bristow, VA 20136 on October 21, 2015 from 6:30-8:30PM. 

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  • I Vote

    Way to jump on the bandwagon. Too bad you’re so far behind everyone else on this one.

  • Taxpayer

    In the meeting you were at in Fairfax, vdot said it would be HOV2 until 2021 when it would be converted to HOV3 regardless of the toll project. You are distorting the truth.

  • Snark Aveni

    Del. Marshall’s statement that “the funds will be turned over to an unelected board which will use the funds to build bike paths” is also a distortion. Although the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC) board members are not directly elected by the public to that body, nearly all are currently elected members of local governing bodies and the Virginia General Assembly. Furthermore, the NVTC would be required to invest the toll revenue in whatever projects most cost-effectively move more people and reduce traffic in the I-66 corridor. If short bike paths or sidewalks near transit stations or new Capital Bikeshare stations can be shown to most cost-effectively increase transit trips in the I-66 corridor and remove cars from I-66, they would benefit the toll payers and should be funded. However, the bulk, if not all, of the toll revenue would probably be spent on new direct commuter bus services that would serve people in Prince William, Loudoun, and Fairfax Counties.

    The I-66 HOV lanes, both inside and outside the Beltway, often are congested and therefore must be fixed, and the HOV exceptions for clean-fuel tagged vehicles are part of the problem. VDOT could quickly and inexpensively fix the HOV lanes by restoring the former HOV-3 requirement which would lawfully ban all vehicles with either one or two occupants from I-66. Those who oppose the HOT lane projects should consider this alternative, because I-66 will *never* be widened further for single-occupant vehicles.

  • SloopJB

    When was I-66 ever HOV-3? It has been HOV-2 as far back as I remember.

    It’s pretty funny how Arlington gets all gushy for the HOV lanes on I-395, but is the head cheerleader for demolishing the existing car pool structure on I-66, when all that is really needed is to toss the hybrids. If the HOV-2 is changed to HOV-3, the net effect will be the breaking up of the existing 2-person car pools and tossing all that extra traffic onto Lee Highway, Route 50, and Columbia Pike. How will that help anything?

    But that doesn’t matter to Arlington’s County Board because making life miserable for car owners is their #1 priority. So goes the crazy logic which says that a single-passenger Escalade is better for the environment than a 2-passenger SmartCar. What would the SmartCar driver have to do to get on I-66, toss a passenger on the roof?

    • MoneyMoney!

      It is all about the money, tolls inside the beltway is expected to bring $10M and shared by Arlington and Fairfax. Arlington got their share and they conveniently forgot about all the issues they had when VDoT proposed toll lanes on I-395.

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