HOT lanes and tolls

Interesting article in the Washington Post this morning about the HOT lanes for 1-95

I knew the lanes would be expensive at peak times but….

But regional transportation planners estimate that the cost for a rush-hour ride on the optional lanes probably will be far steeper: as much as $1.60 a mile in crowded segments. They estimate that a 21-mile, rush-hour trip from the Pentagon to Prince William Parkway would cost as much as $22.28. A round-trip during peak hours could cost $41.46.

Of course users can carpool and use the lanes for free.  The plan is to expand the current HOV lanes from 2 to three and make them HOT lanes.  This brings up two questions I have.  

1.  It will be interesting to see the technology used to track whether a car has more than three people and does not need to pay the toll.  I am thinking thermal imagery perhaps?  The technology has to be smart enough to tollpeople that use dummys as fake passengers. 

2.  The 14th street bridge is a major bottleneck on I-395.  By expanding from 2 to 3 lanes this will create a bigger bottleneck.  Maybe the bridge will be expanded as well.  This is a similar question I have for the American Legion Bridge on 495 with the HOT lane proposal there.  Additionally according to Transportation Secretary Homer,

The HOV lanes today are congested two days a week and in short order, three, four or five days a week. 

Humm definitely need that third lane but is there really that much room to add cars and keep the traffic flowing.  I wonder what the definition of flowing is.  If someone is paying 20 plus bucks I would expect 55+ MPH.  This again causes the bottleneck problem with a constant flow of cars pouring into the trouble spots.

Also in the article,

Aside from the new roads, fees are expected to rise on the region’s two existing toll roads: the Dulles Greenway and Dulles Toll Road. The private owners of the 14-mile Greenway, from Dulles International Airport to Leesburg, have asked Virginia regulators for permission to raise rush-hour tolls from $3.20 to $4.80 by 2012.

Management of the Dulles Toll Road was recently transferred from the state of Virginia to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which plans to raise tolls regularly to pay for an extension of Metro’s Orange Line to Tysons Corner and Dulles Airport.

Humm, I don’t remember there ever being an agreement to use toll revenues to build metro originally.  Too late now.  It is worth nothing the prices are quoted for the Green way section of the toll road.  No word yet on the Dulles Toll Road section.  A quick scan of the Airports Authority homepage and it would be very hard to fathom they have responsibility for the toll road.  I couldn’t find any information on potential toll increases.



~ by novamiddleman on March 3, 2007.

One Response to “HOT lanes and tolls”

  1. This is very nice and informative post. I have bookmarked your site in order to find out your post in the future.

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