Dulles Toll Road Commuters to Get Hosed Again?


makes an interesting point:

Officials at the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority late last month unveiled an agreement to build the first 11.6-mile phase of the rail at a total cost of $2.4 billion to $2.7 billion — considerably more than the early estimates of $1.8 billion. Fairfax County and the federal government have pledged a total of $1.3 billion. Tolls will cover the rest of the growing cost.

That’s just Phase One, extending the rail to Tysons Corner. What happens with Phase Two, which runs the rail all the way out to Dulles, Examiner.com asks. How big will the Phase Two overruns be? What sources of money, other than the toll road, will exist to pay for that leg of the project? Will Dulles Toll Road commuters be asked to take up the slack with tolls even higher than what’s currently projected?

Instead of sticking it to commuters with ever-escalating flat tolls, I think we should convert the Dulles Toll Road to a congestion-toll arrangement. Take the surplus funds and reinvest in making improvements to the corridor, whether expanding lanes, improving interchanges, setting up Rapid Bus Transit, synchronizing stoplights along parallel roads… or underwriting the Rail-to-Dulles project to a limited degree.

I want to see Rail-to-Dulles built. But not at any cost. And certainly not overwhelmingly on the backs of people who benefit only indirectly from the project. There has to be a better way. Again, I return to the landowners, who will reap multi-million windfalls from the presence of Metro stations and increases in zoning density. Why are the politicians so unwilling to consider tapping some of that value to help finance the project?

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3 responses to “Dulles Toll Road Commuters to Get Hosed Again?”

  1. Ray Hyde Avatar

    Rail to Dulles is a great idea. We should build rail to Dulles, and make it an express. Put it in the median and forgetabout trestles or tunnels.

    Then, If Tyons, or Reston want stations, they can build them and put in spurs to connect to the main line.

    Run the next line from Reston to Manassas with stops at business locations along route 28. Other businesses could run shuttle bus service to the stations as Booz Allen does now.

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    Frank Wolf

    Where are you on this issue?

    You went on and on railing against the Dulles Greenway’s poposed toll increase.

    To collect this kind of money for the rail line will require higher tolls per mile than the Greenway.

    Is it time to pull Federal funding from this money pit?

  3. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Jim said it before – that despite all the thoughts that the handiwork of this years GA was a “mess” that it would result in BIG changes to the way that transportation is done in Va.

    With respect to NoVA and transit, consider …

    1. – major new funding streams per majority approval from the region.

    2. – An existing transportation authority, the NVTA … will now have real funds to spend and already has, in hand, psuedo-prioritized lists of projects.

    3. – the very real prospect of even more revenues that will eventually result from more tolling and congestion pricing.

    Two big problems:

    1. – “psuedo” prioritization as opposed to a true integrated plan that does as Ray and others have advocated – which is meld Metro, roads and BRT into a true Regional Multi-modal plan.

    Without this – project selection will inevitable continue with heavy influence of politics.

    2. – .. the subject of this thread – of major concern.

    The proceeds from TOLLs and Congestion Pricing is currently in the realm of the wild wild west as clearly illustrated by the Dulles Toll Road.

    This is no basic protocol such as should funds that derive from tolls be plowed directly back into improving the infrastructure where the tolls came from .. or should the money be “diverted” to other uses – such as transit.

    Second, without an integrated, multi-modal approach, such undesignated funds.. will inevitably be spent on boondoggles no doubt with heavy influence from those who would benefit from certain kinds of new roads or even new transit.

    I like the simple transit plan advanced by Ray which is to build the hub/spoke basics and then let localities decide how to “hook up” – i.e. with stations and multi-modal facilities.

    One thing I would like to see go away is the bogus estimating for projects both rail and transit.

    If you look at almost any road plan whether it be the TPB MPO, or NVTA or even VDOT’s plans – they do two things very wrong:

    1. – they don’t update the cost numbers of the projects every year to reflect inflation.

    2. – Even worse – their estimates for projects are for the current year NOT the year they will be built.

    and this is the fundamental problem and why I use the word “psuedo” to describe prioritization.

    If projects were truly prioritized, they would be not only in rank order but each would have an anticipated build date and each of them would show cost estimates based on the anticipated build date and not current dollars.

    I can wish, can’t I?

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