Transportation Links: Dulles Toll Rates to Rise

Drivers on the Dulles Toll Road will be paying an extra quarter at the main toll plaza come the New Year, the latest in a series of increases established to pay for the 23-mile Metrorail project extending the line from East Falls Church to the Dulles International Airport and beyond.

Effective Jan. 1, drivers of two-axle vehicles will pay $1.50; $1.75 for 3-axle vehicles; and $2 for 4-axle vehicles. Tolls at the ramps remain the same.

In other transportation news, construction on new I-95 HOT lanes could begin as early as spring following a recent agreement between Virginia and a private contractor.

According to the Washington Post, Fluor-Transurban will expand the existing HOV lanes on I-95 in northern Virginia from two to three, and extend the lanes into Stafford County.

More details from the Dec. 6 article published in Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Fluor-Transurban would finance 90 percent of the $940 million project, with the rest of the money coming from the state. The contractor would recoup its investment by collecting the tolls under a deal that allows the contractor to operate the road for the next 73 years. Virginia officials said Fluor-Transurban assumes all of the risk if it cannot recoup its investment through tolls. If the tolls provide an unexpected windfall, the state will share in the extra revenue in a range of anywhere from 5 to 40 percent. …

Carpoolers could use the lanes for free, while solo riders would pay tolls to use the lanes. Toll rates will vary, with higher rates in place during rush hour. … Drivers who opt not to carpool or pay the tolls can use the regular highway lanes. …

In a conference call with reporters, Virginia Transportation Secretary Sean Connaughton said there is no cap on how high the tolls could go. The tolls will be a pure function of market demand, he said; Fluor-Transurban is required under the contract to raise the tolls as high as necessary during peak times to ensure that traffic moves at least 55 mph in the HOT lanes.

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