Transportation Links – September 2009

Final Public Meeting on Toll Road Rate Increase

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority will hold its final public meeting on proposed toll rate increases on Wednesday, Sept. 9, at South Lakes High School in Reston.

The meeting takes place 5-8 p.m. and will include exhibits on the scope, cost and financing of the Dulles Rail extension; potential future Toll Road improvements; revenue anticipated to be raised from the toll increases and how it will be spent.

While there will be no opportunity to speak publicly (there will be no microphone), attendees can fill out a comment sheet or talk to a court reporter.

The proposal calls for raising the the rate at the Main Toll Plaza from $.75 to $1.00 in January 2010, to $1.25 in 2011 and to $1.50 in 2012. Ramp rates will be increased from $.50 to $.75 in 2010, and remain at $.75 through 2012.

I-95/I-395 HOT Lanes On Hold

Faced with an Arlington County lawsuit and the economic downturn, Virginia officials havea postponed a project to create high occupancy toll lanes on Interstates 95 and 395.

The project would expand existing HOV lanes from two to three lanes on the interstates, and extend two new lanes south to Massaponax. All the lanes would become HOT lanes, which would allow buses and carpools with three or more people free access but require other drivers to pay a toll that would vary according to traffic conditions.

Though the project’s total cost has not yet been determined, Virginia officials have determined that the state wouldn’t be able to borrow enough money to fund the project, according to a Washington Business Journal report.

The project also has faced opposition from affected jurisdictions, including Arlington County, which is suing over concerns about air pollution from the increased traffic, according to the Washington Post.

Dulles Rail Project Receives Stimulus Funds

The Dulles corridor Metrorail project is receiving $77.2 million in stimulus funds, which will be used to speed up the construction timeline and decrease finance costs, according to media reports.

The funds are part of $6.7 billion that will be used to improve transportation throughout the country under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The $5.25 billion Dulles Metrorail project is extending the Orange Line after East Falls Church into Loudoun. Currently, construction has begun to prepare for the Tysons East Metrorail Station at the southwest corner of Route 23, and several major traffic routes on Route 7 are being altered.

For the latest updates on project construction, visit www.dullesmetro.com.

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