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Thread: I-66 express lanes debut with $34.50 toll, among the highest in U.S.

  1. #1

    Default I-66 express lanes debut with $34.50 toll, among the highest in U.S.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/local...1ef_story.html

    By Luz Lazo December 5, 2017

    The Interstate 66 toll lanes opened Monday in Washington’s Northern Virginia suburbs with prices so steep they could be among the highest drivers have paid for the privilege of traveling on a state-owned highway in the United States.

    Tolls in the high-occupancy toll lanes hit $34.50 — or close to $3.50 a mile — to drive the 10-mile stretch from the Beltway to Washington during the height of the morning commute. The toll reached $40 on Tuesday morning.

    The lanes, on one of the region’s most congested highways, were billed as a way to help the state better manage traffic, foster carpooling and public transit use, and give commuters more options.

    But whatever excitement drivers might have initially felt at having another choice quickly gave way to shock as they watched toll prices tick up — from $4.50 at 5:36 a.m. to $28.50 just before 8 o’clock to $34.50 at 8:36 a.m.

    “I drove onto I-66 around 8:10 this morning to Washington and my one-way toll was $17.25 — which I at first thought I’d misread,” Justin Cole said. “With tolls reportedly climbing to around a daily one-way peak of $34.50, that is going to introduce a real hardship for people on low wages or working in the nonprofit or public sector.”

    Others took to social media to express their outrage, with the hashtags #I66tolls and #highwayrobbery trending.

    “This is like a bad telethon, watching the number go higher and higher all morning,” tweeted commuter Cameron Gray.

    “The tolls on I-66 are being increased so only the 1% can afford to use it. Time to get that private jet,” said another.

    “It’s price gouging,” said Virginia Del.-elect Danica Roem (D), who won office last month on a platform that focused on traffic in her suburban Prince William County district. She said she will push to cap tolls in the coming General Assembly session.

    “We are talking about $34.50 for a few miles inside the Beltway. That’s clearly price gouging,” Roem said. “Where else in the country do you pay a $34.50 toll to go somewhere?”

    Critics complained that state officials sold the project on projections that tolls would peak at $7 for the morning rush and $9 in the afternoon. State transportation officials said Monday that those projections were based on the average trip — not peak-of-the-peak trips.

    “This was the very first rush hour,” said Michelle Holland, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Transportation. “Every express lane facility has a ramp-up period because it is such a major change. It probably will take at least three months for us to be able to determine the typical traffic pattern and toll price pattern.”

    Here’s how it works: From 5:30 to 9:30 a.m. eastbound and from 3 to 7 p.m. westbound, Monday through Friday, tolls will fluctuate to maintain a minimum average speed of 45 mph; there is no cap on tolls. Put simply, as traffic increases the toll rises to help manage the vehicles entering the roadway. The tolls change every six minutes.

    Solo drivers, who before were barred from I-66 during rush hour, can use the lanes if they pay. That includes drivers of hybrid vehicles, which are no longer exempt. Motorcycles and vehicles carrying two or more people have free use of the lanes.

    State transportation officials said average speeds Monday morning were 57 mph (the posted speed limit is 55), and about 37 percent of vehicles were carpools that traveled free.

    Holland said state officials don’t expect tolls of $34.50 to be the norm. Rates were lower for the evening commute, with westbound I-66 drivers paying $6.25 to travel from Washington to the Beltway at 4:15 p.m.

    But there’s no guarantee that prices won’t top $30 again. Monday, for example, is typically a lighter commuting day because of federal workers who telework, so it’s conceivable that tolls will rise again on days when there is typically more traffic.

    Although Monday’s prices on I-66 are higher than average for U.S. toll roads, experts and transportation officials say they aren’t unheard of in an industry that generates $13.8 billion in annual revenue.

    Driving on U.S. toll lanes costs drivers an average of 10 cents per mile, according to data from the Federal Highway Administration. The data, however, doesn’t include average costs from all U.S. road systems. The most expensive interstate tolls cost drivers about 50 cents per mile, and those are on relatively short lengths of road — including the 14 miles of Virginia’s Interstate 495 express lanes, where tolls have hit $32.30.

    “This is the point of the dynamic pricing — it doesn’t prohibit someone from using the lane but it raises the price to keep traffic flowing and a driver considers their time, value for the cost,” said Bill Cramer, a spokesman for the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association, which represents toll facility operators.

    Some commuters and officials said those complaining about high tolls should simply choose a different option. They note that solo drivers have never been able to use I-66 during rush hour — with the exception of hybrid owners. However, the rush-hour periods were extended 90 minutes with the toll lanes. So drivers who timed their morning commutes to leave before 6 a.m. or at 9 a.m. to avoid the restrictions no longer have that option. For those in the outer suburbs, Metro and carpooling aren’t easy choices.

    The I-66 lanes are unique when compared with the region’s other toll lanes, the 495 express lanes. The 495 express lanes added capacity and give drivers the option of using general travel lanes if they don’t want to pay a toll. I-66 was tolled without adding lanes.

    If officials thought the tolls would encourage more people to use transit, that did not happen Monday morning — at least not for Metro. According to the transit agency, the four stations at the western end of the Orange Line in Northern Virginia (Vienna, Dunn Loring, West Falls Church and East Falls Church) had 13,239 entries during the rush-hour time frame — about 2 percent lower than the same time one week ago.

    There also did not appear to be a significant amount of bailout traffic as some had feared might happen on arterial routes such as the George Washington Parkway and Routes 7, 29, 50, 123 and 193. State transportation officials said that on average, traffic volumes, speed and travel times were similar to the same time last year.

    Officials are still betting that more people will turn to mass transit even if tolls don’t come close to $35 again. And toll revenue will be used for transit improvements in the corridor, including new bus routes and park-and-ride facilities.
    Truth is a social construct.



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  3. #2

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    That cess pool should only be inhabited by govt workers . That zone is not for regular people .

  4. #3

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    "The tolls on I-66 are being increased so only the 1% can afford to use it. Time to get that private jet,” said another.
    How many people would like to drive that road vs. how many can drive that road (capacity)? Seems that eventually only 1% will be using the road. You have a finite resource that is desired by many people. Not everyone gets to drive.

    You may want an original Van Gough or Monet, but only that top .1% can afford them.
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  5. #4

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    So, yeah, if the government didn't own the roads, we'd have a new toll every mile....


    Quote Originally Posted by oyarde View Post
    That cess pool should only be inhabited by govt workers . That zone is not for regular people .
    There is quite a lot of IT work out here. And there are always people who fix leaky roofs, change oil, and troubleshoot HVAC systems.
    It's not quite a cesspool... but yeah, if they just ended the MIC the problem would dissipate within 2 years.

    “It’s price gouging,” said Virginia Del.-elect Danica Roem (D), who won office last month on a platform that focused on traffic in her suburban Prince William County district. She said she will push to cap tolls in the coming General Assembly session.


    In case anyone missed it, Danica Roem (D) has a penis. I had a thread on this after he won... he made his whole campaign about traffic in the area and actually won on that, not his mental illness.
    There are no crimes against people.
    There are only crimes against the state.
    And the state will never, ever choose to hold accountable its agents, because a thing can not commit a crime against itself.

  6. #5

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    Anyone who has traveled on I-66 during rush hour can appreciate the price. If it keeps most of the traffic away so that cars can travel as a decent speed, I'd say the toll did the trick.

    It would have been WAY more effective, however, if it were a private road instead of tax money going to build it.
    "And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works." - Bastiat

    "It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere." - Voltaire

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptUSA View Post
    Anyone who has traveled on I-66 during rush hour can appreciate the price. If it keeps most of the traffic away so that cars can travel as a decent speed, I'd say the toll did the trick.

    It would have been WAY more effective, however, if it were a private road instead of tax money going to build it.
    So this is I-66.


    As you can see, the problem is about 50% solved already, without special toll lanes.
    The problems right now are
    1) The Metro is a fascist train system, instead of private
    2) It ends at Vienna, which is about 1/3 of the distance it needs to be going out West (ETA Vienna wasn't even "out there" when I originally moved to the area in 1986)
    3) The Metro wasn't designed to support general transit like the NYC subway system: it starts at well defined points and goes to other well defined points, and it's very difficult to get from one populated area to another.

    I can assure you, there is nobody running for office on that here.
    There are no crimes against people.
    There are only crimes against the state.
    And the state will never, ever choose to hold accountable its agents, because a thing can not commit a crime against itself.

  8. #7

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    “This is the point of the dynamic pricing — it doesn’t prohibit someone from using the lane but it raises the price to keep traffic flowing and a driver considers their time, value for the cost,” said Bill Cramer, a spokesman for the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association, which represents toll facility operators.
    “It’s price gouging,” said Virginia Del.-elect Danica Roem (D), who won office last month on a platform that focused on traffic in her suburban Prince William County district. She said she will push to cap tolls in the coming General Assembly session.
    They're both right. The shemale is a socialist who ran on a road platform. Let's see what suggestions she has.
    * Enforce Border Security – America should be guarding her own borders and enforcing her own laws instead of policing the world and implementing UN mandates.

    * No Amnesty - The Obama Administration’s endorsement of so-called “Comprehensive Immigration Reform,” granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants, will only encourage more law-breaking.

    * Abolish the Welfare State – Taxpayers cannot continue to pay the high costs to sustain this powerful incentive for illegal immigration. As Milton Friedman famously said, you can’t have open borders and a welfare state.

    * End Birthright Citizenship – As long as illegal immigrants know their children born here will be granted U.S. citizenship, we’ll never be able to control our immigration problem.




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  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by fisharmor View Post
    So this is I-66.


    As you can see, the problem is about 50% solved already, without special toll lanes.
    The problems right now are
    1) The Metro is a fascist train system, instead of private
    2) It ends at Vienna, which is about 1/3 of the distance it needs to be going out West (ETA Vienna wasn't even "out there" when I originally moved to the area in 1986)
    3) The Metro wasn't designed to support general transit like the NYC subway system: it starts at well defined points and goes to other well defined points, and it's very difficult to get from one populated area to another.

    I can assure you, there is nobody running for office on that here.
    Granted, it's been several years since I moved away from that hell hole, but this is closer to how I remember it:



    One little mishap and time stands still.
    "And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works." - Bastiat

    "It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere." - Voltaire



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  11. #9

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    Interesting that it uses basically a supply/ demand fee schedule- the more traffic, the higher the tolls. In theory, it should lead to reducing congestion at the worst times as people attempt to avoid the highest fees (assuming alternative routes or transportation methods are available).

    This isn't the first such highway toll in the US. http://www.fredericksburg.com/news/t...106f4bf5d.html

    I–95 express lanes users have been there, done that.

    This column recently ran figures tallied by a Stafford County resident who gave up commuting because of the costs.

    His calculation came out to $26.30 to travel to work and $35.55 to travel back home, or $526 monthly to get to work and $711 to get home, totaling $1,237 monthly.

    The recovering commuter found that if he hadn’t gotten off the toll wagon, his commute would run him about $15,000 a year.

    There are those who fire back that drivers have a choice whether to be a toll paying customer or not.

    That’s true. You can go slow and sit in traffic or pay the piper and zoom on through.

    It’s the new American way
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian4Liberty View Post
    How many people would like to drive that road vs. how many can drive that road (capacity)? Seems that eventually only 1% will be using the road. You have a finite resource that is desired by many people. Not everyone gets to drive.

    You may want an original Van Gough or Monet, but only that top .1% can afford them.
    Screw you man, I have a right to an original Van Gogh. Your refusal to supply me with Moonrise is a form of violence. Why do you hate art?
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  13. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleaner44 View Post
    Screw you man, I have a right to an original Van Gogh. Your refusal to supply me with Moonrise is a form of violence. Why do you hate art?
    The paintings should be securitized to allow partial ownership for the masses. Would you like to invest $10k in the Skull?
    Truth is a social construct.

  14. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptUSA View Post
    Granted, it's been several years since I moved away from that hell hole, but this is closer to how I remember it:

    LOL yeah, exactly... the tracks are there but where's the train....
    There are no crimes against people.
    There are only crimes against the state.
    And the state will never, ever choose to hold accountable its agents, because a thing can not commit a crime against itself.

  15. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptUSA View Post
    Granted, it's been several years since I moved away from that hell hole, but this is closer to how I remember it:



    One little mishap and time stands still.
    Plenty of color in these pictures - http://www.ronpaulforums.com/showthr...shades-of-gray
    Truth is a social construct.

  16. #14

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    Let me know when, by paying a higher fee, I can travel at a speed that all modern cars can drive at safely and efficiently.

    Say 100mph to start.

    Otherwise, this is just another technocratic police state horror, mulcting the ever suffering taxpayers out yet even more money.

    Although, considering where most of these $#@!s got that money from, $#@! 'em.

  17. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by timosman View Post
    The paintings should be securitized to allow partial ownership for the masses. Would you like to invest $10k in the Skull?
    Investment is the tool of the capitalist pig, man. All art should be nationalized obviously.
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  18. #16

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    I say northern virginia and chicks with dicks are a good fit .



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  20. #17

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    Seems good. Now they need to start demanding flex time.



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