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Sen. Black, Del. LaRock introduce toll-relief legislation

Loudoun County state Sen. Dick Black (R-13th) and Del Dave LaRock (R-33rd) announced Thursday their legislation to bring what they are calling “desperately-needed toll relief” in Northern Virginia.

If successful, HB 1489 will reduce tolls on Interstate 66 inside the beltway and the Dulles Toll Road.

The bill proposes returning the I-66 inside the beltway tolling period to previous HOV hours, which were eastbound 6:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. and westbound 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. until the I-66 inside the beltway eastbound widening project opens, scheduled for fall 2020.

Under the proposed legislation, reverse commuters on I-66 inside the beltway would be charged a toll with revenues going toward regional transportation projects.

The Virginia Department of Transportation would also be instructed to form and execute a plan to convert the Dulles Access Road into tolled HOT lanes. The revenue would go toward buying down tolls on the Dulles Toll Road.

Finally, the bill directs that the Dulles Toll Road would become toll-free by 2030.

“Northern Virginia was already one of the highest-tolled regions in America. Now, commuters driving the 36 miles from Leesburg to Washington, D.C. during peak times travel on three distinct toll roads, paying as much as $53 one-way,” LaRock said. “My constituents call this ‘highway robbery,’ and I agree. Tolls this high hurt families, hinder economic growth, and are just unacceptable.”

Black highlighted recent problems with the tolling system.

"It’s ironic that the I-66 tolling equipment failed so spectacularly and so quickly. People entering the toll road did so without knowing that the trip would cost $39,” he said.

Del. Tim Hugo (R-40th), vice chairman of the House Transportation Committee, added his support for the bill, as did Loudoun County Supervisor Ron Meyer (R-Broad Run).

"We need to make transit a better option, but instead, these tolls simply price people out of their cars and out of employment opportunities. This bill should have strong bipartisan support." said Meyer.

A bipartisan agreement announced on Feb. 10, 2016, by former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) aimed to reduce congestion on the I-66 inside the beltway by widening a four-mile stretch from the Dulles Connector Road to Ballston. The deal also allowed dynamic tolls for solo drivers traveling the interstate east of the beltway during an extended rush hour.

McAuliffe and state lawmakers have long sought to ease major traffic congestion on I-66.

“This multi-pronged strategy will increase options and reduce commute times through improved transit, smarter management of the lanes we already have and a new agreement for a wider roadway both inside and outside the beltway,” McAuliffe said at the time.

The I-66 inside the beltway tolls came into effect Dec. 4, 2017.

Comments


It appears VDOT and the county of Loudoun use eminent domain much to often. How about a bill making the cost of land 2.5 times the property’s fair market value hopefully insuring entities will seek and use condemnation as a last resort. Loudoun Planning and land use want to use it “incase” they might want it for path for a road, yikes!


“The Virginia Department of Transportation would also be instructed to form and execute a plan to convert the Dulles Access Road into tolled HOT lanes. The revenue would go toward buying down tolls on the Dulles Toll Road.”

Great idea.  It is frustrating to sit in the traffic on the DTR and watch those completely open lanes just sit there win no traffic on them.  We have road capacity and simply don’t use it.  Frankly, I wish it hadn’t taken so long for someone to come up with a plan to put those existing roads to work.


Why not make every road a toll road? Any chance we in northern VA can get more of our tax money to put towards our schools?


Dick Black is an ailing enigma.  He also tried to give the Waterford Foundation $150,000 through the efforts of Sup Higgins.  Tag Greason helped shut that pork down.  Not to worry, Sup Higgins turned to our TOT funds to make the gift happen.  The Waterford Foundation has a lucrative wedding business, pulls in almost $500,000 from the fair, and has made a lot of $$$ subdividing farms and selling off lots.  Sup Higgins and his buddy Dick Black can’t seem to get enough of them.  Always interesting.


Maybe I should read the bill to fully understand it. But here is what it appears to do:

1. Revert to old HOV hours (a good thing)

2. Implement NEW tolls on reverse commutes on I66 (west in morning and east in evening). Many folks travel west at night for reasons other than commuting to work.

3. Add more new tolls to the airport access road. Maybe this is a good thing if other tolls were eliminated bit it seems like the 2nd new toll of this bill.

4. Promise us that in 12 years these tolls would magically disappear when the current politicians are gone from office. Something that, to my knowledge, has almost never happened in the history of rolling.

And our pro-transportation politicians support this?


dumb and dumber.

How about these clowns focus\\ on what we really need: a moratorium on sprawl development absent adequate infrastructure; support for Metro in Loudoun; and hundreds of other things that would improve the quality of life in Loudoun.

Grandstanding over this is less than helpful.

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