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LaRock’s toll relief legislation passes House Transportation Committee

Legislation proposed by Del. Dave LaRock (R-33rd) and House Transportation Committee vice chairman Del. Tim Hugo (R-Fairfax) to bring what they are calling “desperately-needed toll relief” for commuters in northern Virginia passed the House Transportation Committee Feb. 1 on a 21-1 vote.

Del. Ken Plum (D-Fairfax) was the sole opponent.

HB 1489 seeks to reduce tolls on Interstate 66 inside the beltway and the Dulles Toll Road.

The bill was introduced on Jan. 18. Its counterpart, SB 898, was introduced the same day in the Virginia Senate by Sen. Dick Black (R-13th).

The scaled-down version of the LaRock-Hugo bill passed the House Transportation Committee Feb. 1 and was sent to the Appropriations Committee. The bill will adjust two key aspects of the McAuliffe administration’s I-66 tolling program. It aims to provide equity and improve traffic flow by activating tolling of reverse commuters on I-66 inside the beltway by Oct. 1. Those revenues will go into the I-66 Commuter Choice program.

I-66 inside the beltway tolls exceeding $200 a month will be refunded until work on widening the four-mile segment of eastbound Interstate 66 from the Dulles Connector Road to Fairfax Drive is completed in fall 2020.

“Northern Virginia was already one of the highest-tolled regions in America – now, commuters driving the 36 miles from Leesburg to Washington, DC during peak times travel on three distinct toll roads, paying as much as $56 one-way,” LaRock said in a prepared statement. “Jan. 18, the one-way toll on I-66 ITB hit a new high of $47.25. My constituents call this ‘Highway Robbery,’ and I agree. Tolls this high hurt families, hinder economic growth, and are just unacceptable.”

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. 

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

LaRock, Hugo and Black, along with other northern Virginia Republican legislators, have opposed the McAuliffe I-66 inside the beltway toll plan since the proposal was first announced in March of 2015.

Nine of the legislators sent a letter to McAuliffe outlining their toll relief proposal Dec. 21, 2017, shortly after the new tolling began.

Comments


Virginia should consider one of the following options: 

1)  Eliminate all tolls and increase the gasoline tax to offset. 
2)  Add new staged tolls to the beltway near both Tysons and Alexandria, to I395 inside the beltway, to I95 south of the beltway, add a toll to I85 – and then reset all regional tolls to be revenue neutral.  Tolls designed to limit volume (hot lanes) should be capped at 200% of new regional toll rate with all the new collection points.


Where were these geniuses when the Greenway giveaway was enacted? Cutting ribbons and smiling.  They are a bit late to the party.


“Del. Ken Plum (D-Fairfax) was the sole opponent.”

Ken Plum is a career politician.  He has been office for 38 years.  My guess is that his tolls are paid by the tax payers anyway so why would he care if there is any relief.

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