Virginia Del. David Reid (D-32nd) is seeking a determination of whether the Dulles Greenway is in the public interest to continue operating under the Virginia Highway Corporation Act of 1988 or should instead be brought under the Public-Private Transportation Act of 1995.
Reid filed the bill on Jan. 13 in hopes of directing the Commissioner of Highways to evaluate whether it remains in the public interest for the Greenway or any roadway to fall under the HCA instead of the PPTA, which places more requirements on the private party.
Should the bill pass, the Commissioner of Highways — if he determines it is in the public interest for any such roadway to operate under the PPTA and if the Secretary of Transportation and the Transportation Public-Private Partnership Steering Committee concur — is directed to negotiate and execute a comprehensive agreement with the operator of the roadway to operate under the authority and requirements provided by the PPTA and to cease to operate under the rules of the HCA.
The bill provides for the repeal of the HCA upon the execution of a comprehensive agreement between the commissioner and the operator of the Dulles Greenway so that the private highway can operate under the PPTA.
The Greenway is the only roadway to be constructed and operated under the HCA and is likely to remain the only one. Due in part to concerns with implementation of the HCA, the General Assembly in 1995 passed the PPTA. Since then, any public-private partnership toll facility in the state has been developed and operated under PPTA.
On Jan. 11, Reid joined his colleagues in Loudoun County on a video call to discuss a separate bill aimed at how the Greenway is regulated. Del. Suhas Subramanyam (D-87th) and Sen. John Bell (D-13th) are carrying that bill in their respective chambers.
The rising costs for the toll road have led to roadway congestion around Loudoun County. The toll road is the only highway in the state owned and operated by a private company under the Virginia Highway Corporation Act of 1988.
The current tolls for a two-axle vehicle are $5.80 during peak periods and $4.75 during off-peak periods on the roadway between Washington Dulles International Airport and Leesburg, according to the Virginia State Corporation Commission.
In October, an SCC hearing examiner’s report was completed following an extensive hearing on a proposed toll rate increase for the Dulles Greenway.
TRIP II was seeking a 6 to 6.8 percent toll rate increase each year over the next five years, equating to annual increases that would result in maximum tolls by Jan. 1, 2025, of $7.90 for peak traffic and $6.15 for off-peak and weekend traffic.
The examiner’s report recommended no increases to peak tolls but supported off-peak toll increases for the next three years.
The toll road has been in operation since 1995.
TRIP II, a locally owned company headquartered in Sterling, maintains and operates the Dulles Greenway. Atlas Arteria, formally Macquarie Atlas Roads, has a 100-percent effective economic interest in TRIP II.