Compromise Struck: Virginia Will Widen I-66 Inside the Beltway

Some local advocates and officials had hoped that tolls and transit could salve the congestion on I-66. Now it will be tolls, transit, and an extra lane.
February 11, 2016, 10am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Chris Slatt reports on the latest development in the saga of I-66 inside the Beltway in Virginia.

Virginia Governor McAuliffe announced today that I-66 will become one lane wider eastbound inside the Beltway, from the Dulles Toll Road to Ballston. That changes previous plans to hold off on widening, to give transit and tolls a chance to ease congestion on their own.

According to Slatt, this compromise was only the most recent, as Republican state lawmakers continued to push for the widening of the freeway. In return for the widening of I-66, reports Slatt, "Republican leaders will drop their opposition to the tolls and transit components."

Now, in addition to the widening, the project's structure includes, "an agreement to spend the majority of toll revenue on transit projects in the corridor, [and] eliminating exemptions for hybrid cars, Dulles Airport traffic, and law-enforcement cars so that all single-driver cars had to pay the toll…"

Slatt goes on to describe more of the political fallout from the decision to widen the freeway. Arlington, Virginia, especially has opposed the widening. Slatt also identifies some reason for advocates of smart growth to be hopeful that this won't just be another widening project. "That said," writes Slatt, "serious concerns remain."

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Published on Wednesday, February 10, 2016 in Greater Greater Washington
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