Tuesday, January 19, 2016

ACST Talking Points for Anti-Tolling Bills


Oppose HB 1 (LeMunyon), HB 631 (J. Bell),
HB 916 (Bulova), SB 234 (Petersen), SB 516 (McPike)

The Legislation

HB 1, HB 631, HB 916, SB 234 and SB 516 would prohibit tolls from being imposed on I-66 in Northern Virginia inside the Capital Beltway.

Reasons to Oppose HB 1, HB 631, HB 916, SB 234, SB516

  1. These bills would kill the comprehensive proposal (Transform66) to improve I-66 inside the Beltway developed by VDOT and the Secretary of Transportation’s Office. This proposal is the result of years of study and negotiation and has been approved by the Commonwealth Transportation Board.
  2. The plan these bills would kill would turn the current part-time, peak-direction-only high-occupancy-vehicle-only facility (2.5 hours/weekday) into a high-occupancy-vehicle/toll facility (4 hours/weekday), provides for widening a segment of the highway, and uses a competitive process to dedicate all excess toll revenue (beyond the costs to build, operate, and maintain the toll facility) to cost-effective multimodal improvements within the corridor that will move an estimated 40,000 more people each day, faster and more reliably.
  3. The bill patrons suggest widening more of I-66 instead. This would be far more costly and less effective and would likely not be accomplished for many years, if ever. Using the congestion-reduction and cost-effectiveness analyses developed for Northern Virginia pursuant to HB 599 (2012), VDOT has shown that the proposed HOT conversion is six times more cost effective than widening at reducing congestion. It would cost an estimated $100 million to add one more eastbound lane for only four miles, and perhaps as much as $1 billion to widen all the way to DC.
  4. The current plan does not prohibit widening. It provides for widening one segment, after making more cost-effective improvements first.
  5. The project does include tolling – but only during peak weekday hours and only for solo drivers (who cannot legally use the facility today). Thus, it provides new (and reliably fast) access to I-66 inside the Beltway for motorists driving alone. And it will improve toll-free travel options for corridor commuters: carpools and bus commuters will see faster and more reliable trips and funding will go to expanding commuter bus and ridesharing services.
  6. The project is self-financing. It would be built, operated, and maintained without any federal, state, or regional transportation funds (other than a loan that would be paid back by toll revenues), leaving scarce transportation dollars for other needed projects throughout the Commonwealth.
  7. Killing the current plan would likely lead to another decade or more of political and traffic gridlock.