Tamara Rollison 804-335-5758 (Cell)
Dec. 9, 2015
COMMONWEALTH TRANSPORTATION BOARD APPROVES MCAULIFFE ADMINISTRATION’S PROPOSAL TO TRANSFORM I-66 INSIDE THE BELTWAY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA
Project will reduce congestion, improve reliability and enhance travel choices
ALEXANDRIA – The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) approved today new travel choices to ease congestion and improve reliability on I-66 inside the Beltway during rush hours. Improvements will move more people with fewer vehicles by increasing transit, carpooling and other multi-modal options and allowing single-occupant drivers access to the facility for a toll.
“After years of exhaustive study and public input, we finally have a pragmatic solution that can be can be implemented quickly and provide real results to improve traffic flow on one of the nation’s most congested roadways,” said Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne. “The CTB supported the McAuliffe administration’s proposal to deliver reasonable solutions to ease congestion in Northern Virginia. Transforming I-66 inside the Beltway is part of the McAuliffe administration’s strategy to unlock congestion in Northern Virginia to improve economic competitiveness.”
The CTB approved an agreement with the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC), in which the Virginia Department of Transportation will deliver and manage the tolling operation, and the NVTC will invest toll revenues in multi-modal improvements to directly benefit users of the corridor. Last week, the NVTC approved its part of the agreement to invest toll revenues.
The expected benefits of the project include the following:
- Reduce more than 26,000 person hours of delay a day by 2040
- Move more than 40,000 additional people through the I-66 corridor a day by 2040
- Provide reliable travel speeds of at least 45 mph during rush hours in the peak direction
- Provide increased travel choices for single-occupant drivers and transit users
Extensive studies performed over the past several administrations in Virginia show a combination of dynamic tolling and multi-modal improvements will provide a faster and more reliable trip on I-66 inside the Beltway during peak travel times, providing a minimum reliable speed of 45 miles per hour.
- If you carpool today (two or more people in a vehicle), you will continue to ride the lanes for free when dynamic tolling is scheduled to begin in 2017 during morning and evening rush-hours (5:30 am to 9:30 am eastbound and 3 pm to 7 pm westbound). Solo drivers can ride the lanes in exchange for paying a variable toll based on the distance they travel. Average toll is expected to be $6 a trip.
- In 2020, lanes will be free to vehicles with three or more people during rush-hours (carpoolers, vanpools and buses) and motorcycles per adopted regional policy. All others will pay a variable toll.
- The lanes will remain free to all traffic during off-peak periods. There will be no tolling in the reverse commute.
- All of the revenues raised from the tolls will finance transportation improvements in the corridor. Estimated toll revenue in 2018 is $18 million.
- Should traffic not flow better in five years, toll revenues will be used to widen I-66 eastbound from the Dulles Connector Road to Ballston.
“There is no question that something has to be done now to get traffic moving on I-66 inside the Beltway, and I am confident we have the right solution to bring congestion relief at a reasonable cost,” said VDOT Commissioner Charlie Kilpatrick.
Layne added, “Before spending a minimum of $100 million to widen the road, it is fiscally responsible for the commonwealth to exhaust all common-sense options that will get traffic to move more efficiently through increased bus use, transit options and better managing the space we have by encouraging carpooling. Improvements can start quickly in a cost efficient manner. This project finances itself, with every cent raised from toll revenues going back into the corridor. ”
For more information:
Transportation Deputy Secretary Nick Donohue’s presentation
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