Former Governor Proposes Tolls On Capital Beltway
Gerald Baliles, who served as Virginia’s governor from 1986-1990, has proposed making the I-495 Beltway and other major routes in the area toll roads.
Former Virginia Gov. Gerald Baliles has proposed making the Capital Beltway as well as other Virginia interstates into toll roads. While in office, Baliles was known as Virginia’s “transportation governor.” He submitted a toll plan to Sen. John Chichester calling for 85-cent tolls at 38 points in Virginia on interstate highways. Baililes said the tolls would raise $1 billion a year for road projects in Virginia, like widening the Beltway and other commuter routes in the state’s north.
The Washington Post reports that Virginia Transportation Secretary Pierce Homer thinks the plan is “a thoughtful proposal.”
But Baililes also acknowledges that the plan will face stiff challenges because truckers, delivery services and commuters would see their daily costs rising by dollars a day if it’s implemented.
Gee, ya think?
Apparently, WaPo doesn’t take this plan too seriously, having relegated their coverage to page B03.
Former governor Gerald L. Baliles (D) has proposed a plan to charge tolls on the Capital Beltway, on Interstates 66, 95 and 395 and at dozens of other spots across Virginia as a way to raise $1 billion a year to solve the state’s mounting transportation problems.
In all, the plan calls for charging a toll of 85 cents at 38 spots on interstate highways that Baliles said would fund several much-needed projects, including widening the Beltway and other major commuter routes in Northern Virginia.
Baliles laid out his vision in extensive detail, listing the spots where he envisioned tolls and the amount of revenue each site would take in. In Northern Virginia, he proposed tolling drivers on the Beltway at the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, Route 50 and the American Legion Bridge. On I-66, drivers would be tolled at Vienna and at Prince William County’s borders with Fairfax and Fauquier counties. Drivers on I-395 would be charged at the D.C. line, and I-95 motorists would be charged at Backlick Road.
Essentially, a toll–and the resultant delays and infrastructure costs–at all the major chokepoints in the region. Usually, a toll road is a convenient way to bypass a more congested “free” route. Baliles’ plan would essentially force people to pay tolls to take even ordinary roads. Indeed, it would virtually wall of the nation’s capital to people approaching from Virginia.
“Thoughtful,” my eye.
crossposted to OTB-BS