Late Thursday, as a member of the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC), I attended a meeting at which the McAuliffe administration made it clear they fully intend to go ahead with their plan for $17 tolls on I-66 over the objections of local residents, leaders, and even members of his own party.
Virginia Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary Nick Donahue spoke on behalf of the McAuliffe administration and pressured the Commission by claiming the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) would assign spending authority to the Department of Rail and Public Transportation at their next meeting if the NVTC did not sign on to the memorandum agreeing to partner with the toll effort. I voted against this plan.
This plan is NOT about improving transportation on I-66. In fact, it’s a concerted, overt effort to make it unaffordable to all but a select few. McAuliffe apparently hopes to force more drivers off the highway and onto public transportation.
This kind of heavy-handed behavior modification might work on lab rats, but it’s unacceptable to jerk around the hundreds of thousands of Northern Virginia drivers and businesses who rely on our roads for their livelihood.
I-66 does need improvement inside the Beltway, and the proper path forward is to add an eastbound lane from the Beltway to Ballston and expand the Bus on Shoulder pilot program to make it more usable. Federal funds, the CTB’s statewide priority funds, VDOT NoVA district grant revenues, and regional transportation funding provided by HB2313, not new tolls, should be utilized to make these improvements.
I, along with the Republican (and several Democratic) members of the House, am fully prepared to block this plan however necessary. My colleague Jim LeMunyon has introduced HB 1 to this end, and we are also pursuing budget amendments to make this tolling plan impossible.
Thank you for your support, and please stay tuned for further updates!
Tolling I-66 inside the Beltway is just a warm-up exercise for what they really want to do…toll it outside the Beltway. The toll plan is dangerous because it gives Richmond entrée to tolling other sections of the Interstate. The toll is also REALLY expensive. I-66 inside the Beltway isn’t a very long road. A maximum $8 toll 1-way is ludicrous. Additionally, we just had one of the biggest tax hikes in VA history and it was the “transportation tax.” Why does Richmond need even more money after they just got a massive shot of revenue???
Still no mention from LaRock that these tolls will apply to single-passenger vehicles only during the rush hours when they’re not legally allowed to use the road anyway.
Good point, why are single-passenger vehicles discriminated against in the first place? They pay for decals, they pay emissions, they pay taxes at pump. If anything, they should get a discount because they are carrying less weight!
Cars can’t vote.
For most commuters since this law was infrequently enforced in the form of written citations many just simply don’t realize the fact, for politicians of course it vacates the righteous indignation posturing. After all where is the showtime if the story is you are being provided access to something you were previously denied albeit at an expensive price. Notice none of the outraged elected officials are talking about removing tolls or even reducing them on this miscommunicated issue. Its just a large look at me, look at me nothing burger. I wouldn’t expect any acknowledge regarding this fact from those trumpeting this issue any time soon.
This real issue is that I-66 during rush hour will be changed to HOV-3 for free travel. HOV-2 can use the road legally and for free right now, but they’ll be charged under the new plan.
If the proposal is brought down to HOV-2 still getting free passage, I’ve got no problem with this toll at all.
Yes, I agree.
Considering the “historic” tax increase that was passed in the 2013 Transportation Bill was supposed to magically heal our roads and bridges with, again, the biggest tax increase in Virginia’s history, I am shocked that we would need yet more money from the little people to fix one measly highway!
Move to strike. Irrelevant.
You just loves you some tax increases, don’t you? I bet you love that obamacare tax too!
Get to know me before you make false statements about me. I use my real name so it makes it easier for you to do that.
You are impressive!
Don’t blame me…I voted for Cuccinelli. I wish more republicans had.
So embrace your tolls, northern Virginians…you’ve earned them with your votes.
McAwful is out of control. I will be so happy when he is out of office.