Two Dulles Greenway-backed bills to change the way tolls are governed on the state’s only private highway has been sent to next year in General Assembly committee votes.
The bills, filed by Del. David A. Reid (D-32) and Sen. Jennifer B. Boysko (D-33), sought to relieve the Dulles Greenway of new regulation passed last year, instead allowing the state Commissioner of Highways to negotiate a new deal on tolls with the highway owners unilaterally. The bills also added would have further shielding information about the Greenway’s finances from public disclosure with non-disclosure agreements and a new Freedom of Information Act exemption specifically for that information.
Both bills were tabled until the 2023 General Assembly session in their respective chamber’s transportation committee this week.
The bills were similar one Reid introduced last year. The Loudoun Board of Supervisors opposed the bill both last year and this year. Reid and Boysko had pushed the bill as a path to lower tolls and distance-based tolling. Reid told a subcommittee of the House of Delegates transportation committee that he had met with Gov. Glenn Youngkin on the bill, and in committee sought to amend it to make more explicit the desire for distance-based tolling and reduced tolls along the length of the road.
“The objective of this legislation is to empower the new administration to work with the owners of the Greenway and to work in collaboration with county to be able to come up with a way to implement distance-based pricing and to reduce the tolls,” Reid told the subcommittee.
Loudoun County’s representatives in those negotiations would be non-voting members sworn to secrecy by non-disclosure agreements.
“Our concern with the bill is, it’s kind of focusing on the process and not necessarily the end result. Our focus as the county is on the end result and getting the best deal that we can,” County Administrator Tim Hemstreet testified to the House committee. “….Because this road is exclusively in Loudoun County and the majority of people that use it are Loudoun County residents, we feel very strongly that the county should have input on the final deal and what the end result is.”
He also said the county is committed to working with the Greenway’s owners and stakeholders to come up with a solution.
The House Transportation subcommittee continued the bill to 2023 unanimously on Feb. 3; the Senate transportation committee did the same on the same day.