Two things motorists detest: tolls and congestion. Tolls, if effectively applied, lessen congestion, but at a high cost to drivers. However, steep tolls also provide a political incentive to "fix the bottlenecks," as shown by the 66 Express Lanes.
Traffic speeds during the peak eastbound commute on the 66 Express Lanes Inside the Beltway have dropped to 35 mph. "Toll-tweaking" and changing the algorithm are achieving limited success on this dynamically-tolled stretch.
The new 66 Express Lanes Inside the Beltway made headlines when one-way tolls topped $40. Max Smith of WTOP News reports how revenues are used in Northern Virginia. Bus transit and shuttles to park-and-ride lots are two of the biggest beneficiaries.
An illustration of the intricate relationship between public transit and highways occurred on April 5 when two lines of the D.C. Metro broke down during the peak morning commute, sending many would-be riders to drive I-66 to D.C. instead.
Widening of Interstate 66 for 22.5 miles in Northern Virginia will accommodate two toll lanes in each direction, accessible to trucks. The $3.7 billion project, to be built by public-private partnership at no cost to the state, will open in 2022.
Dan Vock of Governing takes a broad look at congestion pricing, beginning with the success of Virginia's 66 Express Lanes, the ones where tolls initially topped $40. Notwithstanding complaints, managed lanes are spreading, but challenges remain.
Virginia's 66 Express Lanes feature uncapped tolls that change every six minutes with the level of congestion, with most revenue benefiting transit. Carpools travel free, but solo-drivers in electric vehicles pay like others.