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Loudoun officials speak out against new I-66 tolls

Northern Virginia commuters saw some high prices on the new toll lanes on Interstate 66 Monday morning.

Before 8 a.m., one-way tolls from the Beltway to Washington, D.C. cost drivers around $28.50 and about $34.50 by 8:40 a.m., The Washington Post reported.

The new toll lanes run from Route 29 in Rosslyn to Interstate 495, and the rates vary depending on traffic conditions.

Officials with the Virginia Department of Transportation told The Washington Post that the $34.50 rate was the “peak of the peak rate.”

The toll rates reportedly change every six minutes.

There were previously HOV restrictions that limited that area of I-66 during rush hour to vehicles with two more people and drivers with hybrid cars with clean-fuel license plates. But there is currently no cap on toll pricing -- the price changes as congestion with the fluctuation of congestion.

Transportation leaders say they expect the new tolls to encourage carpooling and mass transit.

On Monday, several Loudoun officials took to social media to voice their concern about the new tolls.

“These I-66 tolls are outrageous!” Supervisor Ron Meyer (R-Broad Run) said in a Twitter post. “We need immediate action to cap and lower these tolls. Almost all of the toll money is just extra funding for transit projects. Cut the tolls now. There was a reason the tolling formula wasn’t made clear. Now we know why. Broken promises.”

Supervisor Matt Letourneau (R-Dulles) noted the Board of Supervisors opposed the higher toll concept but was unsuccessful in its efforts to prevent it.

“On the plus side, part of the road will be widened (finally). However, Loudoun residents are tolled at higher rates than anyone else in the state, thanks to our (forced) reliance on the Dulles Greenway and Dulles Toll Road,” Letourneau said in a Facebook post.

Supervisor Tony Buffington (R-Blue Ridge) has asked the board to consider adding items to its legislative agenda, including a $10 cap on one-way tolls and for tolls along I-66 inside the beltway to be removed once the lane expansion has been paid for.

Buffington thinks the General Assembly is unlikely to get rid of the new tolls altogether anytime soon, but that lobbying for a $10 cap and future removal once the expansion has been paid for may have a chance at being adopted by the legislative body down the road.

The Washington Post reports that when tolling was talked about in 2015 and models on traffic and pricing were complete, transportation officials said that, on average, prices would average about $9 for the 10 variations of trips drivers would be able to take on the highway.

Comments


It’s weird that northern va is the only part of the state that has to add these toll roads to pay for roads and road improvements.  How about adding them in the rest of the state.  Should figure a way to toll the school systems. Based on how many kids you send.


@Loudoun123 the “better off” argument would carry a lot more weight if they hadn’t also expanded the hours of enforcement on either end of the day. So, a single driver that used to drive in at 6 AM now cannot do so without paying a hefty toll. So, the single driver now has to leave earlier (or much later) in the morning, and leave later (or much earlier) in the evening to make the same commute they were making for free 2 weeks ago.


Pacerguy00; you are correct about everything. We just stand on different sides of the issue. I do not think the size of ones pocketbook should entitle you to better public roads, cleaner public water, dependable electricity, or better public schools. Norva by far generates the most tax dollars in the state. If that original tax money stayed here we would not have a problem. To think we will be charged a new tax/toll and that the money will stay here for improvements is fantasy at best.
  I don’t know who is winning but we are losing.


I think everybody is ignoring one simple fact whey complaining about the high tolls for single drivers. The fact is that single drivers are better off now with the high tolls than they were before. Before, there was NO access allowed anyways for single drivers due to the HOV restrictions. Now, at least you have an option to pay that toll if where you are going is really important that day. Bottom line, if you don’t like the high tolls, then don’t pay them and you will be right where you were a week ago. Off of I-66.


@Amissville

The state tax went from 3.5% to 5.1% or 5 cents 3 years ago. You conveniently ignore the federal tax as well. Federal excise tax on gasoline is 18.4 cents per gallon and 24.4 cents per gallon for diesel fuel. The federal tax was last raised in 1993 and is NOT INDEXED to inflation, which increased by a total of 64.6 percent from 1993 until 2015. So currently the state/federal taxes are 16.2/24.4 = 40.6 cents per gallon tax when if adjusted for inflation the federal rate should be DOUBLE to support road maintenance. Either way the tax is no where the ACTUAL amount it should be because it’s not inflation adjusted.

To your second point, a $40 hospital toll more/less what currently exists. When the emergency room is used as a primary care physician, and your time is valued at $10 an hour; a 4 hour hospital visit seems par for the course.

Even in your own retort, you prove my point. If your expectation is that you will never have to wait in a emergency room, then an ADDITIONAL $40 toll would probably achieve that. I-66 proves this as a $40 toll, at the busiest time of the day, gets you ZERO traffic.


according to Google, the FEDERAL Gas Tax - “was last raised, in the year 1993, to 18.4 cents per gallon. That’s over 20 years ago, and gas prices at the time were close to the now unimaginable $1.00 per gallon mark. Yet the amount of the gas tax was fixed and not tied to inflation—so it has not changed since.”

In a July 1, 2013 richmond.com article I just read, the VA gas tax was going to be reduced from 17.5 to 11.1 cents.  Funny to see the average price per gallon of that time was in the mid-3’s.

According to virginiagasprices.com it is $2.21 currently in Old Dominion.


Yeah these same politicians want to spend mega billions for a Potomac River bridge and pay for it with, wait, wait TOLLS!


Sorry gas tax was raised 3 years ago.


The gas tax was raised January 1st 2015 statewide. That’s not even 2 years ago?
I understand, as I think we all do, that prices go up over time due to normal inflation in a healthy economy. Everything cost money, and everything is subsidized. What’s your point? Should I look forward to a 40 dollar waiting room toll at a busy hospital?


Cowbell, where is the 8-lane highway in SW Virginia?


@Amissville & @morecowbell

Tell me when the last time the gas tax, which is SUPPOSED to be used for road repair, has been raised? Even better, tell me the last time that tax money wasn’t reallocated to another project?

Road repair is a YEARLY task. Repaving, new lines, expansion, etc. Tell me, do you think the costs of goods for tar, asphalt, labor, trucks, labor, insurance, etc. has stayed stagnant since the tax was last raised?

The only lie that was told here is people telling themselves that they are currently paying the true costs for road use and that prices will never go up. Roads and automobiles are more heavily subsidized than every other facet of american life. Farming, subsidized. Education, subsidized. Healthcare, subsidized. Air travel, subsidized. Most people have no idea the true costs for things. I bet you can’t name a single major industry in this country that doesn’t receive some Federal/State tax free incentive/subsidy.


I agree with Amissville. 66 is/was paid for with tax money. Thanks to the poor management of Metro, they’re looking for DC, MD and VA to pony up more money via another tax. Dulles toll rd & Greenway toll are more hidden taxes on Loudoun specifically. If you drive southwest Va, they have nice 8 lane highway with very few cars….It’s a shame northern va isn’t a state….


Pacerguy00, What is the true price of the road? Where has the tax money gone? Don’t be delusional and think this is correct. Our politicians have become so dumb they cannot come up with viable options, so they turn citizens against each other. Heres a thought….... build enough infrastructure to support all the constituents houses you have approved and sold. This is not a Democrat or republican thing, it’s a pure stupidity problem.

We pay a tax when we buy a car, pay a tax when we fill up the car with gas, pay a tax when we get the car repaired, we pay a property tax for the privilege of owning a car, now we pay a tax to drive the car on the road.


From when this I-66 tolling proposal was agreed to:

““It’s a huge victory for our constituents,” said Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax City, who was among the lawmakers standing with McAuliffe as he made the announcement in Richmond. Petersen was one of several Northern Virginia Democrats who urged McAuliffe to consider the 4-mile widening project.

But not all are convinced. Manassas Del. Bob Marshall stood in the back of the room carrying a red sign that read “Stop $17 tolls.” Such signs dotted the landscape during last fall’s election.

Republican lawmakers in Northern Virginia balked at the McAuliffe administration’s initial proposal to toll solo drivers who travel inside the Capital Beltway during the rush hour because it would have tolled an existing road that taxpayers had already paid for without adding any additional capacity.”

“Fairfax County… backed the toll plan and Board Chair Sharon Bulova [Democrat] thanked McAuliffe for advancing the project, saying it will reduce congestion.”

Also:

“His administration also plans to add tolled express lanes west of the Beltway to ease the flow of traffic out to Gainesville”  Watch out drivers of I-66 westward.  They are going to gore your ox (wallet) next.

From VDOT when this highway robbery was proposed “Dynamic tolling will be based on volume and usage. The average toll per trip is expected to be $6.”  YOU LIE!


@wwwebbs-Incorrect. Hybrid vehicles no longer qualify for the no toll status any more.

To all others, you 100% correct this is a tax. Because you have no idea how inflation impacts the costs of maintaining 100s of miles of road and raising the gas tax for the entire state to pay for the economic benefits I-66 provides the whole state is a more egregious option.

Here’s a solution, either the entire state, or all counties increase the gas tax (who’s purpose is to maintain roads, and hasn’t been raised in decades), pay the peak toll, change your commute route, carpool, take public transit.

But ultimately, stop whining about having to pay the TRUE cost of the goods you use. Don’t be delusional and think you had been paying for the true costs all along. We all eventually pay the piper and not it’s your time.


Can the government be charged for price gouging….this is it - highway robbery for sure by the government bandits…


If the goal of the tolls is to reduce congestion during peak traffic periods, why are hybrid vehicles allowed to pass without paying a toll when there is only one person in the car?
And why is the toll only done in one direction? Have you seen the backups in the other direction during peak traffic times? Clearly a tax on NOVA drivers.


David Dickinson - I guess $40+ is the peak of the peak of the peak rate.


“Can we pull up quote after quote from the Democrats saying what a great idea tolling I-66 was?”

From the Washington Post, October 16, 2015:

Elizabeth Miller, Democratic candidate for House delegate in Loudoun County’s District 32: “The Greenway is far cheaper than the upper limit on what you’re talking about. ... There is not a single elected official or candidate who thinks this is a good idea.”


Love the new tolls! Metro can’t come soon enough! let’s get those single occupant cars OFF THE ROADS!


Buffington has already lost the battle….cap at $10?...why aren’t they free, the people already paid for these roads to be built, now the gov just wants a revenue stream…the deep state is real.


Just another hidden tax on northern va drivers from our corrupt politicians. That highway should have been 4 lanes each way at least 10-15 years ago. It will take 10 years plus before they put in any extra lanes. I use to drive that road for 7 years, not any more.


Utterly outrageous!!!!  And today WAPO reports tolls went over $40 for a one-way trip!!!

When will NOVA rise up and politically destroy any politician or party that supports these insane tolling schemes?!?!

Opposing the tolling was a major theme of the election 2 years ago.  Democrats (inexplicably) supported the additional I-66 tolling and Republicans opposed it.  Can we pull up quote after quote from the Democrats saying what a great idea tolling I-66 was?

I especially want to know why Democratic Governor McAulliffe so badly wanted this outrageous tolling pushed through.  When a guy known for slimy business dealing is really behind something, it is an indication that something rotten is going on.

Congrats to NOVA for getting sucker punched on transportation again. 

Wake up people!

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