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Letter to the Editor: Stop Tollmageddon

One reader suggests Virginia should revoke MWAA’s operating permit for the Dulles Toll Road.

There are two things that can be done to avoid the problems ahead for commuters and residents around Route 7 between Sterling and Tysons Corner. The first solution: Virginia must retake the Dulles Toll Road (DTR).

Secretary Sean Connaughton on April 14, 2012 said the state was so unhappy with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority that it would rather finish building the Silver Line itself.

“We are actively evaluating whether we can take the project over. These guys [MWAA] are a disaster,” Connaughton said. “We’re at the point, quite honestly, where we think we could potentially do it better, cheaper, faster.”

The Virginia Department of Transportation controls the Operating Permit for the DTR and could revoke that permit based on a variety of performance-related issues. It's time to put the interests of the DTR users first and get this done before it's too late. Keeping traffic and tolls under control benefits people, the economy and the environment.

If Virginia takes control of the DTR, the savings would be close to $2 billion over the 30-year life of the bonds used to pay for Dulles Rail. That is $2 billion that will not come out of the pockets of DTR users. That savings alone should be reason enough to take action. Del. Randy Minchew (R-10) has indicated that if Virginia assumed control of the project, billions could be saved by borrowing at reduced interest rates.

The VDOT operating permit sets a standard of "best effort." The people now managing the DTR are not   accountable to either the federal or state government and have not put forth their best effort. Here is a link to the pertinent pages

The second solution is to fix "Toll Avoidance Traffic Gridlock." The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and the recently updated Environmental Assessment done for Phase 2 of Dulles Rail are defective because they completely ignored the traffic impact on Route 7, and the overwhelming effect that the toll avoidance will have on local roads. Toll avoidance occurs when drivers stop using a tolled road and revert to un-tolled local roads. (Note: LOS= level of service, the grades earned, indicating the impact of adding rail.) [Editor’s note: The document shows failing levels of service with or without rail.]

This is simply unacceptable and must be corrected so that real solutions are developed for the benefit of those who live work and play in the areas affected by Rt.7 traffic. That includes any road that can and will be used as a shortcut to avoid congestion.

David LaRock
Hamilton, VA


[Send your Letters to the Editor to Herndon Patch Editor Leslie Perales at Leslie@Patch.com.]

Bob Bruhns August 21, 2012 at 03:04 PM
The Dulles Toll Road toll problem will be ultimately be 'resolved' by infusing taxpayer money, and transferring the financing largely or totally to Fairfax and Loudoun Counties, and possibly partly to the Commonwealth of Virginia. We were assured that the tolls and business tax districts would prevent other tax increases - but that was just another Dulles Rail lie. The kind of toll increases that are supposedly planned, simply will not stand - because so many drivers will take to the local roads to avoid those usurious tolls, that our local roads will be a total parking lot. If you think it's bad now... just wait. And even after the taxpayers wind up paying for this, the tolls will still be painfully high - meaning plenty of local road traffic increases will remain because of all of the drivers trying to avoid the tolls by using local roads. Our so-called 'leaders' surely know this. That is why they were pushing for an extra $300 million from Virginia, to hide the toll increases for as long as possible. Now they have to lay in wait, until the screaming about the jammed local traffic gets so loud that they can get away with passing a bond resolution that will FURTHER indebt the taxpayers, heavily, for generations. This will happen by late 2015. And that will be on top of WMATA's needs - $13 Billion already, for deferred maintenance and future capital needs. Surprise!!! This rail project should have cost 56% of what we are being charged. We are being robbed.

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