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Del. Jim LeMunyon files bill to fight McAuliffe’s I-66 tolling plan

Legislation for the 2016 Virginia General Assembly is starting to roll in, and number one on the list – literally – is Northern Virginia Del. Jim LeMunyon's proposal to prohibit tolling on I-66 inside the Beltway.

LeMunyon's House Bill 1, introduced on the first day of pre-filing Nov. 16, would effectively “hit the reset button on plans for I-66 inside the Beltway so better alternatives can be implemented,” LeMunyon said in a statement.

HB 1 proposes: “No toll shall be imposed or collected for the use of any existing component of Interstate 66 east of mile marker 67.”

Plans by Gov. Terry McAuliffe's administration to implement new tolls inside the Beltway have been fiercely opposed by Republicans and some regional Democrats. The issue was particularly hot in the closing months of election season.

“As I indicated in my July 2015 letter to Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne, Gov. McAuliffe’s plan to toll I-66 inside the Beltway would do little to reduce congestion on one of the most congested roads in our region,” LeMunyon, who represents portions of Fairfax and Loudoun counties, said in a statement. “VDOT’s own numbers show that Northern Virginians waste 900,000 hours every business day in traffic. We need transportation solutions that will reduce this number rapidly and put valuable time back into the lives of our citizens.”

The McAuliffe administration's proposal is somewhat convoluted. Tolling is proposed on I-66 in both directions between I-495 (the Beltway) and U.S. Route 29 in Rosslyn during rush hours. Vehicles with three or more people would travel the lanes for free during peak periods, while other drivers would pay to use the lanes. The lanes would remain free to all traffic during off-peak periods.

Currently, both lanes on I-66 are reserved for two or more people during weekday rush hours – eastbound from 6:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. and westbound from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. – although it's been estimated that up to 35 percent of I-66 drivers during the morning hours violate that restriction.

McAuliffe has stressed his proposal doesn't force existing drivers to pay a new toll, but rather provides a new option for those willing to pay.

Democrats pitch new sick leave law

Across the aisle from LeMunyon, two local lawmakers have signed on to a proposal that would require certain private employers to provide sick leave benefits.

House Bill 7, chiefly authored by Falls Church Del. Marcus Simon (D) and co-patroned by Del. Kathleen Murphy (D) and Del.-elect Jennifer Boysko (D), calls for private employers with 25 or more full-time employees to provide those employees working at least 18 hours per week with paid sick leave benefits.

“Hard working Virginians shouldn’t have to choose between getting paid and going to work with a fever, the flu or worse,” Simon said in a statement. “It is essential to the health of Virginia’s workplaces that we provide a reasonable number of paid sick days for full time employees so that they don’t have to choose between paying for groceries or masking their symptoms and 'toughing it out' through a work day.”

Murphy and Boysko represent portions of Loudoun County.

Despite McAuliffe holding the governorship, Democrats will face an uphill battle in 2016, policy wise. The Virginia GOP maintained its majorities in both the House and Senate in this year's elections.

The Virginia legislature's 2016 session begins Jan. 13. Because it's an even-numbered year, the upcoming session will last 60 days, while odd-numbered years hold 30-day congregations.

Comments


“That’s because I-66 is currently below its capacity for part of the proposed tolling periods.  “

Yeah, what time is that?  3:00am?  It’s a parking lot the rest of the day.

Anyone who claims they are going to increase the throughput on this road without increasing the number of lanes is a flat out liar.

@Right Honorable.  If there is something you’d like proof of, then name it.  Happy to oblige.


tea’d enough already

move on 4 the truth


That’s brilliant, Virginia SGP, let’s fight any attempt to improve the quality of life in Virginia. 

You may not know that Arlington refuses to allow I-66 to widen…your matchbook university knowledge of Economics could perhaps benefit from a dip into a political science book too.


For years, citizens have pushed for and politicians have promised to expand I-66 inside the beltway and possibly reduce the HOV restrictions.  That is the baseline assumption.

Then along comes McAuliffe who sees a revenue stream that can be diverted to pay for goodies for his own favored constituents.  The tolls would offset other funds that should be spent on NoVa roads.  Therefore, McAuliffe can use those additional funds for bike paths, etc.

Anyone who doesn’t understand this should take econ 101 somewhere!  It’s like oil.  If supply is reduced in one location (Canada, Mexico, etc.) it is simply replaced by supply elsewhere.  Or Planned Parenthood. They might normally split their donations across all services.  But if public funds can’t be used to provide service A, they simply use all private donations to provide service A (and not any other services) and then claim public funds did not support service A.  Realigning fungible funds is the same thing as using public funds for service A.  It just happens to be legal.

VDOT should expand I-66 inside the beltway to the max lanes possible and eliminate HOV restrictions to the maximum extent without bringing traffic to a standstill.  Anything else is shortchanging NOVA.


The information about VDOT’s proposal for I-66 inside the Beltway is outdated; namely, VDOT has modified its January 2015 proposal to toll in the peak-commuting direction only and to exempt vehicles with as few as two occupants from the tolls until at least 2020. Since the switch back from HOV-2+ to HOV-3+ restrictions is so unpopular, it’s possible that this switch will be delayed indefinitely, provided that I-66 can remain congestion-free whenever the HOV-2+ restrictions are in place.  Thus, the tolls will apply only to single-occupant vehicles, which are currently banned from I-66 during the HOV restrictions.

Del. LeMunyon’s claim that “Gov. McAuliffe’s plan to toll I-66 inside the Beltway would do little to reduce congestion” is an outright lie.  The tolling would be designed both to keep I-66 congestion-free and to increase the numbers of vehicles moved on I-66 during the tolling period.  That’s because I-66 is currently below its capacity for part of the proposed tolling periods.  Recent traffic-modeling studies have shown that the tolling will actually reduce traffic congestion on the alternative routes.

The I-66 tolling proposal would benefit Loudoun County commuters and taxpayers by giving Loudoun County Transit and other commuter buses a faster and reliable 45+ MPH I-66 trip and by providing a new source of revenue to buy and operate more Loudoun County Transit buses.  By promoting transit use in the I-66 corridor, tolling I-66 would also reduce Loudoun County’s operating costs for the upcoming Silver Line service.

Tolling I-66 inside the Beltway is a smart, effective, and fiscally conservative approach to increasing travel capacity (i.e., move more people) and reduce traffic congestion.  By contrast, widening urban freeways—especially without HOV restrictions and/or tolls—just generates more auto trips and auto-dominated development, so overall traffic congestion increases.


Sorry, David Dickinson, as Ronald Reagan used to observe, you can have your own opinions but you can’t have your own facts.


What commenters don’t understand is that: 1) There are additional proposals to toll I-66 outside the beltway and 2) Once the Govt. gets a revenue stream then they expand it. 

The most relevant local example is the Dulles Toll Road which our government PROMISED would only be tolled until the bonds were paid off.  That happened when Senator Kaine was Governor. Did he keep the Commonwealth’s promise?  @$#%@#$%$#% no he didn’t.  He signed the road over to MWAA who then jacked up the tolls and will continue to increase them in the future. 

We the People got lied to (again).  We should never give the Government any new source of revenue.  All they do is take advantage of it later down the line.


This just proves that if you tell a lie long enough, people will believe it.  This toll would only affect those who want to travel in the HOV lanes as single occupant vehicles.  You could easily pitch this as a cost reduction move since when you’re ticketed for doing this now it costs 100 times more than the proposed toll.


People literally do not understand that the toll will not affect people who CURRENTLY use I-66 during rush hour because you must be an HOV driver anyways.  This ALLOWS single occupant drivers to use the roadway who as of today are not allowed too because of the HOV restriction.  So please stop saying that this toll is going to unnecessarily cost people a lot of money because it really won’t.  Get the facts!


Tolled Enough Already.

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