DEMAND LETTER:  SUSPEND THE TOLLING ON I-66 UNTIL A PLAN IS IN PLACE TO PROTECT COMMUTERS

December 2017

Governor Terry McAuliffe
Governor-elect Ralph Northam

Dear Governor McAuliffe and Governor-elect Northam:

We urge you to immediately suspend the tolling on I-66 and develop a rational plan that protects commuters from exorbitant toll-gouging that is evidenced in the current tolling fees assessed to commuters.

While "dynamic tolling" is a key element of controlling utilization of traffic on a highway, the pricing structure typically includes the recovery of costs for the construction of that tolled highway.

The citizens of Virginia paid for the current highway that has been converted into a tolling revenue source for other "multimodal" transportation projects that will arguably do little or nothing to relieve congestion on I-66. 

Nonetheless, this proposal received the support from the Legislature and the public based on the now clearly false claims that the highest price a commuter would expect to pay for a round-trip commute would be $17.  The peak fare in the first day of tolling topped $69.  The following day tolls topped $40 for a one-way trip -- for a total of as much as $80 for a round-trip commute (although, contrary to original VDOT estimates, the return trip in the afternoon and evening will likely be much lower than the inbound commute).

We believe that the information circulated by the McAuliffe Administration, VDOT, and regional transportation officials has proven to be grossly and wildly incorrect, and calls into question the integrity of the current approval for this project.

Accordingly, the signers to this letter demand that the current tolling on the 10-mile I-66 corridor between the Beltway and the Roosevelt Bridge be immediately suspended.

We request that you convene a Citizen's Panel to undertake an independent review of the prior claims upon which the tolling proposal was presented to the public, and to provide recommendations on how to best protect commuters from exorbitant toll-gouging that focuses on revenue rather than congestion relief.

Peak commuter fares of $40 for a one-way trip, and up to as much as $80 per round trip, are discriminatory to low and middle-income commuters, and establish an unacceptable privilege to wealthy commuters who have exclusive access to a publicly-funding roadway.

There needs to be an investigation into the now-discredited public relations campaign that secured the approval of this tolling plan, and a serious review needs to be conducted on placing caps on the daily round-trip tolling to protect commuters when the tolling is restarted.

Respectfully submitted,

Pete Candland
Gainesville Magisterial District
Prince William Board of County Supervisors

Citizens of Virginia Co-Signing the Letter

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