Spotlight Shines on Toll Road in 32nd District Race

Forrest starts petition on toll increases, while Howell calls for action for Gov. McDonnell

With one debate under their belts, the Patrick Forrest-Janet Howell race is in full swing with a clear focus heading into the last two months before Election Day: the Dulles Toll Road.

Before last week's debate, (R) had been raising awareness on a study from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority that predicted fees on the Dulles Toll Road could exceed $17 roundtrip within the next five years, and $17 each way by 2040.

He also has been pointing his finger at (D) for being "silent" on the issue, which he asserted in a Letter to the Editor to the Fairfax County Times and at last week's .

But Howell said she has seen the predictions for toll increases, and has been working to find funding at the state and federal level to bring down costs of the Silver Line project, therefore alleviating the need to raise tolls to what she calls an "unreasonable" amount.

The MWAA study also points to a lack in federal funding, compared to similar projects around the country, as an issue. With Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) bonds, which Howell told Patch after last week's debate she would work to secure for the project, the tolls are expected to be $9 roundtrip. Without TIFIA, MWAA predicts the toll fees will stand at $18 roundtrip by 2016.

On Monday, Howell and Del. Ken Plum (D-36th District) sent a letter to Gov. Bob McDonnell requesting he not only include toll rates that do not exceed what was originally planned in his next transportation proposal, but to also have the state buy down tolls in Northern Virginia just as he did with the $895 million he sent downstate for toll relief.

"We believe the residents and businesses using the Dulles Toll Road also deserve relief," they wrote.

The letter comes five days after Forrest launched an online petition encouraging Northern Virginians to speak out against $17 toll rates.

After redistricting earlier this year, the 32nd Senate District includes parts of Oakton, Vienna, Herndon, Reston, McLean and Arlington. Not sure if you're included in the 32nd Senate District? Click here to find out.

Catherine Baum September 14, 2011 at 07:37 PM
The really important statistic is what percentage of your take home pay will you be spending on transportation 30 years from now versus what you spend today. If you live in Reston and drive to your office downtown today, you are spending $3.50/day on tolls plus $10-12/day for parking plus gas.You are already spending the $17 today,
Matt Genkinger September 14, 2011 at 08:03 PM
"The [Howell/Plum] letter comes five days after Forrest launched an online petition encouraging Northern Virginians to speak out against $17 toll rates." Shouldn't we all be saying "Janet, what took you so long!" Perhaps she has been down-state too long and forgot about the issues that matter to her constituents? Isn't that the most important bit of information one gleans from the article?
Bob Bruhns September 15, 2011 at 04:30 AM
Um, so if we increase the daily toll costs from $3.50 to $17, then if we are paying $17 today, we will be paying more like $30 a day then. I don't consider that to be workable.
Bob Bruhns September 15, 2011 at 04:36 AM
Good point, convict - not many people will probably pay $17 in road tolls every day... leaving the Toll Road wasted, and leaving Dulles Rail to be funded by other methods, that were not disclosed to us when this boondoggle was sold to us - like taxes on homeowners, and fees of every sort, on everything. As it happens, I did not live here before the Toll road existed. What that has to do with an overpriced local rail line and its associated pack of lies, I'm not sure. As for jobs, I would say that nonsense like having to take little jammed side roads at rush hour, or pay usurious tolls, will drive those jobs away from this area. Bottom line: a little local rail line that is THIS overpriced, is not a good thing.
john klein September 15, 2011 at 07:42 PM
Bob, you are right but you will never convince your critics to open their eyes to see the failure of the Dulles Toll Road subsidy as our elected Federal Officials can't see the disaster that is overwhelming our country. Their answer is to kick the "kick the can down the road" and let the next generation handle the problem.


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