Dulles Greenway

The privately owned Dulles Greenway is a 14-mile thoroughfare running east-west between Leesburg and the Loudoun-Fairfax line.

Different year, same result.

A Virginia House committee has again killed a bill aimed at addressing toll price concerns on the Dulles Greenway.

The House Labor and Commerce Committee voted on the bill late last week. The proposal would have amended the powers and responsibilities of the State Corporation Commission (SCC) to regulate the toll road. The measure failed on an 8-8 vote in committee.

With the roll call sitting at 9-7 in favor of the proposal, Democratic Del. Lamont Bagby, who represents Henrico, flipped his vote in the final seconds to oppose the bill introduced by Del. Suhas Subramanyam (D-87th).

"The result was disappointing, no question. But this is an ongoing process," Subramanyam said a prepared statement. “I look forward to continuing to work with stakeholders, the Loudoun delegation, and the Board of Supervisors to protect commuters from high tolls."

The bill, if enacted, would have given the SCC a criterion to review toll rate increases for the 14-mile Dulles Greenway that runs from Leesburg to the Dulles Airport area.

Additionally, the bill would have added the Virginia Department of Transportation as the oversight agency to review traffic modeling and prohibited multi-year toll rate increases.

The Greenway is the only highway in the state owned by a private enterprise under the Virginia Highway Corporation Act of 1988. The owners in December applied for a toll rate increase of 6.8 percent annually over the next five years to the SCC, according to Loudoun County Attorney Leo Rogers.

“If the users of the Greenway go down, the Greenway still makes money. What we ought to be looking at here is not maximizing their return, but maximizing the usage,” Rogers said.

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors supported the proposal and opposed legislation to extend automatic toll hikes beyond the expiration date of Jan. 1.

Loudoun Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Membership and Government Affairs Grafton DeButts said at Thursday’s committee meeting that “businesses and employees rely on what we call ‘Greenway alternatives’ to get around the county, but these roads cannot safely or reliably support the number of vehicles every day that travel on them.”

The tolls are currently $4.75 for non-peak hours and $5.80 for peak hours. Rush hours are currently set from 6:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. eastbound and 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. westbound. With proposed increases, tolls could be well over $6 for a one-way trip.

Del. Wendy Gooditis (D-10th) serves on the committee and is a chief co-patron of the bill. She voted in favor of the bill. She represents constituents in parts of Clarke, Fredrick and Loudoun counties.

“All these years later, I, as well as thousands of Loudoun County residents, avoid that toll road,” Gooditis said. “If the company wants to exist in the future – and in defense of my constituents – I urge the Greenway to do something to encourage the traffic on the Greenway and lower the tolls.”

Subramanyam’s bill incorporated two bills introduced by Del. Dave LaRock (R-33rd), including a similar bill to Subramanyan’s, and Bill 971, which would have had the Greenway operators turn over its authority of the roadway.

LaRock has a third Greenway bill requesting that the enforcement and oversight of the Virginia Highway Corporation Act of 1988 be transferred from the SCC to the Department of Transportation. House Bill 772 was assigned to a transportation subcommittee on Jan. 14. No date has been set to review the proposal, according to General Assembly records.

VDOT has experience with Public Private Partnership endeavors, scientific modeling and traffic analysis that makes them capable of handling the transfer, according to LaRock.

“...Given the capability of VDOT, they are just far better aligned to perform that function with precision and accuracy,” he said.

Should the bill reach the transportation committee, Dels. Karrie Delaney (D-67th) and Kathleen Murphy are expected to cast a vote. Both represent parts of Fairfax and Loudoun counties. Del. Bagby also serves on the transportation committee.

In 2008, the General Assembly approved the Greenway funding agreement after it was introduced by then-state Sen. Mark Herring (D-33rd) and then-Del. Joe May (R-33rd) in 2008.

(28) comments

Thebroof

Australian owned politicians. Democrats are getting a slice of the pie, of course they'll kill the bill.

amerigirl

Then say who and how much

ReasonableVoice

Of the people that voted for it every single darn one with the exception of constituent pressured LaRock was a Democrat, and the only person to switch votes was a Republican-lite Democrat Lamont Bagby. Republicans get the vast majority of the pie, and they've killed the dang bill for the past six years, it's only Democrats who have bothered to fight four Loudouners.

hardworkingamerican

Wow that is why the road is in such great shape and maintained. It is owned by Toll Road Investors Partnership II. In 2018 they paid 4.89 million in property tax, which debunks the lies that it is tax exempt. The land was purchased at market price. The Common Wealth did not issue tax free bond to finance this it was done with conventional financing. And of course the big lie is that they also own EZ pass, which they don't that is VDOT. Furthermore they pay a fee for every transaction that happens on that road. Wow, so the government tries to get their grubby fingers into everything. This is why the road is so nice, just go to other areas of the 10th district and see what the road conditions are like. Probably not the few 1,054 constituents that Jennifer Wexton says she has helped, more like the other 810,000 she has hurt. Once again, VDOT takes the tolls and "you know who" blames private enterprise. Just remember what happened in the UK when the government owned everything, before the Iron Lady took over. Good history homework to look up for those who believe the government is the answer. It is not. Government is granted power by the people and the people can take it back. Remove Wexton, Kaine, Warner and of course let's not forget Mr. Coon Man himself Ralphy Northam. Take VA back and make it MAGA red for life. It is a fight worth fighting.

amerigirl

So, you saying that the road is nice because it is privately owned and doesn’t use tax money? Does that mean you want taxes increased so all the roads can be as nice? Every state owns their own EZ pass system. What do you mean VDOT takes the tolls and "you know who" blames private enterprise? Who?

TomPaine

$5.80 x 2 trips x 22 days a month = $255 a month = $3000 a year! Talk about Lexus lanes. This is the Lexus highway. Who the heck can afford to pay that much to use a road? It's elitist and only serves to push "the poors" onto the side roads. It should never have been built and alternate routes should be expanded to the maximum exten possible.

ReasonableVoice

You are right on the money Mr.TomPaine. This bozo with his love of the not even Lexus Highway but, Porsche Greenway that only the richest among us can afford is delusional and brainwashed.

More Cowbell

Seems like many northern va politicians are silent. The toll road is just another hidden tax on northern VA. Greedy corrupt politicians.

amerigirl

How is it a tax when it says "The Greenway is the only highway in the state owned by a private enterprise"?

Doug Glatt

It is a tax in the sense that 'Express Lanes' are a tax. Our elected officials did a poor job of planning for the growth they allowed. They do not have the funding to invest in capital improvements so they farm it out to private companies who get a majority of the profits while the constituents have to pay for toll roads and the gasoline tax.

More Cowbell

You must be new to Loudoun.

Because of all the money Northern VA sends to Richmond and the very little we get back. They even added an additional tax on gas to help with roads in northern VA, vs just giving us more of our hard earned tax money. Dulles Toll road was suppose to go away about 20 years ago, but they corrupt politicians in Richmond kept it and gave it away to another greedy group, thanks to Tim Kaine. There was enough money to build Greenway without it being sold to private firm.

amerigirl

Doug, so you are saying it is taxing but not actually a tax?

amerigirl

Cowbell, I agree that we don’t get near what we pay in taxes. I have even said that NOVA should separate and become its own state and be able to control its own money. You seem a little mixed up on the Dulles toll Rd. If we had not run out of tax money to do road improvements at a time when people were flooding into Loudoun then we could have kept the toll road. But with the lack of funds and the need for road improvements Bob McConnell and others struck up a bipartisan deal which was not finalized until after his term was over, it was than signed by Kaine. All that history is public knowledge so you shouldn’t blame it on the signer.

More Cowbell

You do realize Dulles Toll Rd and Greenway are two different tolls even though connected. Dulles Toll Rd was built and politicians stated once paid for, it would no longer be a toll rd. It was paid for over 20 years ago, but because they saw a cash cow, corrupt politicians kept it a toll road to pay for projects. Greenway was put out for bid because Richmond claimed to not have any money, which they would have if they had made cuts to other pork deals. So we have two toll roads costing about $15 one way, even more if you drive inside the beltway on 66. And had a gas tax increase to help pay for roads. I'd say we're taxed an additional $2500/year then any other group in VA. A toll road is just a tax. Just like all the fees/taxes associated with cable bill, cell phone bill, airline ticket.

amerigirl

Cowbell, the toll road was turned over to MWAA March 27, 2006, they took over the operation of the Dulles Toll Road, including the outstanding debt and the obligation to construct the Silver Line in the median strip of the toll road. As I said, those negotiations began as a bipartisan effort before Kaine was elected, he just signed a project that had been a year in the making. The problem is that it was not paid for and there was no money left for other road construction. You also have to remember it was republicans that were in office then so they didn’t want to tax much, which led to their not being enough funding, I have no idea if they had any pork deals or not. I totally agree with you that the pricing is outrageous. But as long as people keep paying it they won’t change. Personally, it would be a cold day in he!! before I used the Greenway

ReasonableVoice

Blame the GOP, they've run the legislature for two decades, and this is the first time it has come close to passing because of the Democratic takeover.

RoundHillGuy

Corrupt politicians in Richmond, want to take your guns and have no problem with Gov, Blackface and infanticide, but have no problem caving to their donors in this instance.

amerigirl

Who has the owners of the Greenway, Toll Road Investors Partnership II given money to?

amerigirl

[offtopic] terrible spin effort

amerigirl

[offtopic][offtopic][offtopic][offtopic][offtopic][offtopic][offtopic][offtopic][offtopic][offtopic]

Harvardmustang

How much did Del. Bagby get paid or through an alternate source? Why doesn't KKK/Blackface Governor Northam sign an executive order mandating no increase on tolls until further studies. And then every subsequent Governor does the same?

amerigirl

Why would he listen to people like you that call juvenile names? I suggest that you ask yourself, you can do it through a site. But just signing executive orders is being a monarch, let the representatives of the people decide. your rep is who you should ask.

Skyprince

Take names and get rid of these yahoos in Richmond....if they can't represent us and address our concerns, boot them out.

amerigirl

They are representing the people who elected them. Instead of complaining why not call his office or email them with your opinion?

More Cowbell

They don't represent the people. They vote or do whatever they want. That's why many are in it to make a career and get rich.

More Cowbell

Hold it, so you back Trump? I recall seeing posts where you complained about him/his politics, but now you back whoever is elected.... I see double standard, you must be a journalist or work for media.

amerigirl

Cowbell, the people didn’t elect him, he lost the popular vote by about 3 million people even with Russian interference helping him.

More Cowbell

So now you're changing the rules, So if you go state by state, Trump only represents the states he won popular vote. And to think people based their vote on some facebook lie(Russian Interference), how is that any different then what we deal with from HuffPost, WashPost, Loudou Times, NYT, MSNBC, CNN. I'd 90% of the media backs any Dem with lies... Even if Charles Manson was running as a dem.

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