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Would you pay $21.50 in tolls to get to and from work each day — or $5,160 per year?
Posted by: FFX County Politics ()
Date: July 29, 2011 06:47AM

Can the Dulles Corridor sustain tolls of $21.50 in 2020?
http://www.fairfaxtimes.com/article/20110729/OPINION/707299730/1065/can-the-dulles-corridor-sustain-tolls-of-2150-in-2020&template=fairfaxTimes

Would you pay $21.50 in tolls to get to and from work each day — or $5,160 per year? That is the question employers and residents of Tysons Corner and the Dulles Corridor are going to ask before locating there. Without exception, the businesses and residents I have talked with are answering with a resounding no. What will this mean for the future of Tysons Corner and the Dulles Corridor and the residents of Fairfax County? Nothing good.

The Dulles Corridor and Tysons Corner are the economic engines of Fairfax County, Northern Virginia and the entire Commonwealth of Virginia. The Dulles Toll Road is a key component of that corridor. Residents throughout the state and region should be concerned with protecting the health of this corridor as it is critical to our future in everything from jobs to commercial tax base.

Early predictions are for at least a $1.2 billion overrun on Phase II of the Dulles Rail project. About 75 percent of revenue for the project is the tolls on the Dulles Toll Road. Even with all of the cost shifting and cost savings currently being discussed under talks led by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, tolls are still projected to exceed $20 per round trip by 2020.

For some time now I have raised concern on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors that the major toll increases will have an adverse impact on the corridor. I am aware of at least three companies that have already chosen to locate outside the corridor because of the tolls. Businesses must compete for employees, and $20 a day is enough to make a difference when trying to attract them — especially entry-level employees.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority’s own toll road projections show a significant decrease in trips on the toll road as people flee the increased costs. That means they are either leaving the corridor permanently or are driving on already-congested side roads.

Rail is typically a driver of economic activity, and this promise of increased economic activity is a primary reason for the overwhelming support for rail in the corridor. But will the negative impact of these high tolls offset the gains from rail or, worse yet, have a detrimental impact on the corridor? What is the range of tolls that will keep and attract businesses and residents in the corridor? That is the question I unsuccessfully tried to get the Board of Supervisors to study at our April meeting.

Before we make major decisions regarding Phase II, we must understand and take into account the impact of the tolls on the future of Tysons Corner and the Dulles Corridor. Blindly proceeding with the project without understanding the impact of the tolls would be irresponsible.

Pat Herrity represents the Springfield District on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

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Re: Would you pay $21.50 in tolls to get to and from work each day — or $5,160 per year?
Posted by: More to digest ()
Date: July 29, 2011 06:49AM

A major disconnect between authority, accountability
http://www.fairfaxtimes.com/article/20110729/OPINION/707299728/1065/a-major-disconnect-between-authority-accountability&template=fairfaxTimes

Transportation along the Dulles Corridor provides a classic example of what happens when authority is disconnected from accountability. We all end up paying more and receiving less.

The federal government built the Dulles Airport Access Road to provide an easy way to get to and from Dulles International Airport. When local commuters wanted to use the near-empty road, central planners ignored their requests. Not only did they prohibit local commuters from using the access road, they also refused to provide any viable alternate route. As a result, the communities along the Dulles Corridor developed slowly for want of adequate transportation facilities. Because of this decision, the Access Road remains one of the few underused urban freeways today — despite our region having some of the worst traffic congestion in the nation.

After two decades of delays, Virginia was finally allowed to construct the Dulles Toll Road on the federal right-of-way using state-issued bonds. The will of local residents finally prevailed, the regional economy thrived, and Fairfax County became one of the strongest economies in the nation. This economic growth also benefited Dulles Airport; it is now one of the largest and busiest airports in the country. By responding to local demands, everyone benefited.

Virginia had promised to remove the tolls once the road was paid off, but some politicians were reluctant to give up a lucrative revenue stream. Dulles Rail had long been a dream of U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Dist. 11), former Gov. Tim Kaine (D), and other central planners, but the main problem for Dulles Rail had always been the huge price tag.

The cost of building Dulles Rail would have consumed the Virginia Department of Transportation’s entire construction budget for seven years. VDOT would have been forced to abandon the construction of more than 200 lane miles of freeway to fund the 23-mile rail line. In addition, operating and maintaining Dulles Rail would require permanent taxpayer subsidies of tens of millions of dollars annually. The project did not even meet the low financial standards set by the Federal Transit Administration to receive federal funding assistance. Despite this, its promoters were undeterred.

Dulles Toll Road revenues offered an opportunity to help fund the costs of Dulles Rail, but it was clear that the Virginia General Assembly would reject efforts to divert toll road revenues to pay for rail. Instead, in 2005, then-Gov. Kaine devised a plan to give control of the toll road to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority in return for a blank check promise to build Dulles Rail.

In so doing, Kaine gave control of the toll road to an organization that is not accountable to the users of the road or to the General Assembly. MWAA’s board of directors only represents the interests of Reagan National and Dulles Airport, and airport users already have their own, dedicated, toll-free roadway.

The result is staggering. In 2009, MWAA announced that toll rates would eventually climb to $16.75 each way. To make matters worse, estimated project costs for Dulles Rail have increased since this toll schedule was released. Are you outraged yet?

The excessive tolls will force many existing Dulles Toll Road users to change their travel patterns. Traffic congestion will increase significantly on all alternate routes, including major routes such as U.S. Route 50, Interstate 66 and state Route 7, as well as secondary roads serving our communities.

Worse, the Rosslyn Tunnel and Orange line electrical grid already are operating at capacity. Additional rail service for Dulles Rail will necessitate a reduction of service on either the Orange or Blue lines. Fixing this bottleneck will cost an additional $10 billion. Thus, the new rail line offers little benefit to most commuters to Washington, D.C., until additional massive investments are made.

The end result is that the regional economy will once again suffer due to inadequate transportation facilities. This will further depress home prices, slow the economy, and make Dulles Airport a less desirable destination.

Unaccountable central planning does not work. The U.S. became a great country by providing its citizens with strong local governments that were responsive directly to its people; we will continue to falter as long as we try force solutions onto the people from above. This is why the federal government and Virginia should cancel MWAA’s lease on the Dulles Toll Road and revert the leased land back to Virginia. Local transportation issues need to be decided and funded by the local governments.

Ken Vaughn is a professional traffic engineer and a candidate for Virginia’s 11th Congressional District. While redistricting has not been finalized, the 11th District is expected to include most of Virginia’s major commuter corridors for the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area.

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Re: Would you pay $21.50 in tolls to get to and from work each day — or $5,160 per year?
Posted by: snowdenscold ()
Date: July 29, 2011 10:40AM

I pretty much agree with both articles.

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Re: Would you pay $21.50 in tolls to get to and from work each day — or $5,160 per year?
Posted by: Mofo ()
Date: July 29, 2011 03:01PM

I will cause my company pays for mileage and tolls so I don't give a shit.

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Re: Would you pay $21.50 in tolls to get to and from work each day — or $5,160 per year?
Posted by: curious ()
Date: July 29, 2011 05:58PM

For the record this is an op-ed by Kevin Vaughn, a declared opponent of Gerry Connolly. Wonder if Fimian will give it another go . . .

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Re: Would you pay $21.50 in tolls to get to and from work each day — or $5,160 per year?
Posted by: Off the Top ()
Date: July 29, 2011 08:54PM

Mofo Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I will cause my company pays for mileage and tolls
> so I don't give a shit.

If you look at the big picture, you mighthave gotten most of that as your bonus.

So you ahead and keep costing ypur company more.

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Re: Would you pay $21.50 in tolls to get to and from work each day — or $5,160 per year?
Posted by: section8,number1 ()
Date: July 29, 2011 11:47PM

my section 8 toll voucher should allow my 93 civic plenty of room. looking forward to it.

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Re: Would you pay $21.50 in tolls to get to and from work each day — or $5,160 per year?
Posted by: snowdenscold ()
Date: July 29, 2011 11:57PM

Mofo Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I will cause my company pays for mileage and tolls
> so I don't give a shit.


They might at $1.75 each way. We'll see if they have the same generous policies at $10.50.

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Re: Would you pay $21.50 in tolls to get to and from work each day — or $5,160 per year?
Posted by: JBass ()
Date: July 30, 2011 09:09AM

Source this if you can find it. This is nothing more than local politicians using scare tactics to justify their existence.

"The result is staggering. In 2009, MWAA announced that toll rates would eventually climb to $16.75 each way. To make matters worse, estimated project costs for Dulles Rail have increased since this toll schedule was released. Are you outraged yet?"

*possible rant to follow after a mornings cup of coffee*

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Re: Would you pay $21.50 in tolls to get to and from work each day — or $5,160 per year?
Posted by: JBass ()
Date: July 30, 2011 09:11AM

Also,

You should check out parking rates in DC. Commuter costs in DC are not going anywhere[EDIT: but up]. Smart money starts a carpool service...



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/30/2011 09:12AM by JBass.

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Re: Would you pay $21.50 in tolls to get to and from work each day — or $5,160 per year?
Posted by: amazing ()
Date: July 30, 2011 10:30AM

I blame this on fucking niggers, not just niggers but "fucking niggers"

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Re: Would you pay $21.50 in tolls to get to and from work each day — or $5,160 per year?
Posted by: Mofo ()
Date: July 30, 2011 02:08PM

snowdenscold Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Mofo Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > I will cause my company pays for mileage and
> tolls
> > so I don't give a shit.
>
>
> They might at $1.75 each way. We'll see if they
> have the same generous policies at $10.50.


It's not a bonus it's .55 cents a mile tolls and parking, it's charged on my timesheets as separate items.


My office is close to where I live. My client site is not. So I am reimbursed costs from office to client site. Since I live very close to the office I am paid minus the cost of what it takes to get to the office.

I work for a huge company with very deep pockets. If the office moves then that will change. Most people cannot charge this as they live farther away from the office than they do their client site or they simply get on a plane twice a week to travel to their client site and spend the week in a hotel. Plane, rental car, hotel all paid for. If the costs become that prohibitive then maybe I will change to a project where I travel and rack up airline and hotel points. As it is I travel a bit anyway.

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