A proposal by House Transportation Committee Vice Chairman Tim Hugo (R- 40) and Del. Dave A. LaRock (R-33) to provide toll relief to I-66 commuters was parked permanently today.
The bill would have required the Virginia Department of Transportation to refund tolls of more than $200 per month for motorists using I-66 east of mile marker 67 to commuters with electronic toll tags until work is done widening I-66 eastbound from the Dulles Access Road to Fairfax Drive in fall 2020. It would also have imposed tolls on reverse commuters.
It would have also reduced the tolling hours for the HOT lanes on I-66 and directed the Secretary of Transportation to work with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority to start dynamic tolling on the Dulles Airport Access Highway to make the Dulles Toll Road toll-free by 2030.
A Transportation Committee subcommittee originally killed the bill on Jan. 30, but Hugo and LaRock won support from the full committee to revive a scaled-back version long enough for members of the House Committee on Appropriations review it. Today, they did—and voted to table the measure.
The revised bill would only have required the refunds and tolls on reverse commuters.
In a statement, LaRock criticized VDOT leaders and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
“I have opposed these new tolls from the beginning, but, after seeing them rolled out, I’m convinced this was rushed and it should have been delayed at least until the new capacity was up and running in 2020. Holding the line with a $200/month cap was a very reasonable ask; unfortunately, VDOT fought it all the way,” LaRock stated. “With tolls north of $40 one way on I-66 inside the beltway, taxpayers are being forced off a road they’ve paid for; we’re seeing this road become Lexus lanes for the wealthy.”
“Former Governor McAuliffe created a favored class of commuters. This one-way tolling is completely unfair and it was obviously politically motivated. I’m frustrated that my fellow legislators would not undo this debacle during the 2018 session,” LaRock stated.
A companion bill in the Senate, Sen. Richard H. Black (R-13)’s SB 898, was narrowly defeated in the Senate Committee on Transportation.