Petersen and Wexton: I-66 tolls inside Beltway need to go to Beltway improvements
For the 2016 legislative session, Senator Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax) and Senator Jennifer Wexton (D-Loudoun) will introduce legislation requiring that any revenue raised from tolling I-66 inside the Beltway be used for widening and improving that stretch of I-66 – not as a general fund for transportation improvements.
The current plan submitted by the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA), and approved yesterday by the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB), allows I-66 toll revenues to be used for a variety of congestion improvements along the corridor. There is no requirement that VDOT widen or improve the highway inside the Beltway.
“It’s common sense that the tolls paid by drivers should go to road congestion improvements first” Senator Wexton said from her law office in Leesburg. “Commuters need congestion relief now so they can spend time with their families and not stuck in traffic.”
“What happens inside the Beltway should stay inside the Beltway; if commuters pay a toll on I-66 inside the Beltway then it should used to improve that stretch of highway – not somewhere else,” Senator Petersen said from his law office in Fairfax City.
“Tolling I-66 inside the Beltway is the equivalent of creating an ATM machine on the backs of northern Virginia commuters. If so, it should be solely focused on widening that stretch of highway, which is still limited to four lanes. That’s absurd. It should not be used to subsidize other projects.”
Petersen and Wexton’s bill is in drafting. It will be released in the weeks prior to the General Assembly’s 2016 session, which begins January 13th.