STATEMENT: I-66 Tolls Should Stay

December 7, 2017

Stewart Schwartz

CSG Press Statement – I-66 Tolls Should Stay

NORTHERN VA – Today Stewart Schwartz, the Executive Director of the Coalition for Smarter Growth, made the following statement in response to the widespread outcry regarding the toll prices on the newly-open high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes on I-66:

“We see the initially high tolls as reflecting that it’s not possible to accommodate all single-occupant commuters on limited road-space during the peak-of-the-peak commute hours. While the peak tolls are likely to settle down at a lower level, it’s important to note they are a market price reflection of demand.

The system set up for I-66 is designed to move the most people through the corridor during commuting hours as quickly and smoothly as possible. The tolling makes possible the maintenance of a 55-mph speed, provides for carpooling to remain free and uses toll revenues to expand express bus and other transit services in the corridor.

And its worth noting that single-occupant cars, which couldn’t use the corridor during peak hours in the past, now have that option – for a price based on market demand. Users now have more options than they did before: drive alone, in addition to carpool, more express buses, Metro and even bicycling options.

Proposals to eliminate tolls and widen the entire highway are simply not viable. The cost would be in the hundreds of millions of dollars and because of the phenomenon of “generated travel” (also called induced demand), an expanded highway like this would fill up in record time and traffic would crawl again.

While we’re sympathetic to the sticker shock drivers and politicians are experiencing this week, the combination of tolling, HOV, Metro, and new transit provides the most effective way to move the most people the most expeditiously as possible to and from work in the corridor. This comprehensive approach should stay in place.”

About the Coalition for Smarter Growth:
The Coalition for Smarter Growth is the leading organization in the Washington DC region dedicated to making the case for smart growth. Its mission is to promote walkable, inclusive, and transit-oriented communities, and the land use and transportation policies and investments needed to make those communities flourish. Learn more at