If one were to wonder what it feels like to be treated like a red-headed step child, welcome to commuting in Northern Virginia.
If you’re reading this, there is a strong chance you (as well as your friends, family and business customers or partners) are about to be asked to pay another $4,250 a year in tolls to the Commonwealth of Virginia for the option of taking the shortest route from Loudoun County to Washington D.C., starting less than two years away in 2017.
Do I have your attention? That’s the cost that Gov. Terry McAuliffe proposes to be borne by anyone who rides on I-66 inside the Beltway during peak hours when the governor’s plans to enact tolling of that road are brought to completion. That’s $17 a day, five times a week, 50 weeks a year for many drivers, in addition to the sky-high tolls of $17.40 a day just to ride on the Dulles Toll Road and Greenway. That means commuters coming from Loudoun County could be paying over $34 a day in tolls.
Maybe it would better to compare Gov. McAuliffe’s treatment of these drivers to Cinderella rather than a red-headed step child, since he’s spoken out strongly against this kind of treatment when applied to other regions. Just a few months ago on July 10, an official press release from the governor crowed, “Governor McAuliffe Announces Deal Ensuring No Tolls on the MLK Freeway Extension in Portsmouth.” In a Channel 3 interview McAuliffe said, “…our job is to protect taxpayers, but these tolls (speaking of the $4 MLK extension tolls) were so burdensome on the citizens of Portsmouth it would have impacted their ability to do business, their quality of life.” Well if that’s not a ridiculous double standard for two different parts of Virginia, what is?
Gov. McAuliffe wants to treat my hard working constituents like cash cows, and he is ready to shake them down again. It’s an utterly unrealistic demand on the hardworking families and businesses of Northern Virginia.
It’s no secret that our district has serious transportation challenges. As I’ve said for years, we can make excellent headway on these challenges without resorting to massive tax and toll increases. Last year, I passed legislation to require the evaluation of all projects based on meaningful factors like congestion relief, and there is still much to be done to make sure that our transportation spending is more efficient. Before we even THINK about going back to taxpayers and commuters and asking for more money, we need to tighten up the way Virginia does business and make sure every cent is spent as efficiently as possible. Anything short of that is unreasonable.
If you object to these outrageous mega-tolls, sign the petition against it here.