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    Posted: 23 Sep 2005 at 7:43pm
Below is a great letter just posted to the VDOT site. Please go to the VDOT link and read all of these heartfelt anti-hot letters that have come in since the Woodbridge meeting on Wednesday. Many of these are from the Springfield area. I was wondering when the commuters in Springfield would awaken to this.

I am definitely against the HOT lane proposal. I have been slugging for about 2.5 years and this commuting method has been the best of every method that I have tried in this area since moving here 6 years ago. I have tried driving alone, VRE, Metro, carpooling, and slugging. Despite assurances from our politicians that HOVers will NOT have to pay to use HOT lanes, I have serious doubts that these promises will be kept when the company that wins the contract will be in charge of operating the lanes (and later "needing" the funds to pay for maintenance, etc.). Despite all of the modeling that is done to attempt to find out how commuters will react to this system, no one really knows how commuters will be affected. The findings from the model are only as good as the assumptions entered into it. And everyone knows what happens when you assume things. I attended part of the Advisory Panel Meeting in PWC, Wednesday, September 21 (I was late because I work full-time and attend graduate school full-time as well). What a joke! An issue as important as this one, that has the potential to affect the daily lives of thousands of commuters, and only ONE meeting is scheduled to hear public comments! In addition, only allowing each person to speak for 3 minutes, while allowing every other presenter ample time to speak and answer questions from the panel is absolutey ridiculous. Not to mention scheduling the meeting during a time when most of the commuters potentially affected by HOT lanes are in the midst of travelling home from a long day at work. I found the meeting to be extremely frustrating and depressing as I came to the realization that our POLITICIANS DO NOT CARE WHAT THE PUBLIC THINKS. They just have no idea how successful commuting works in this area - oh, I forgot, most of them don't have the lengthy commute that most of us do. There should be a real public debate with the Advisory Panel on this matter at a time when people affected by this decision can better attend! Finally, the idea of building these HOT lanes (in part using the existing, successful, and taxpayer paid HOV lanes) is criminal. I wonder when VDOT collects the money from the proposal winner (for, in essence, selling the HOV lanes), if that money will de distributed back to the taxpayers who have already paid for those lanes. No matter how you approach it, the HOT lane proposal is the wrong choice. Make no mistake; the HOT/HOV lanes would look like the main lanes now during rush hour. People will pay the toll no matter how high - this is how the contract winner will make their money and when that isn't enough, they will start charging the commuters who carpool to work. The HOT lane proposal is wrong for the environment (additional fossil fuel consumption, and air and noise pollution). It is wrong for commuter quality of life. It lacks common sense - we need to look at alternatives. Instead of promoting single occupant drivers, there needs to be better promotion of multi-occupant vehicles. This is the only way to keep up with the rapid growth in the area. Instead of addressing the real problem of congestion on the main lanes, the proposal will spread the problem to the HOV lanes. There should be an expansion of HOV, not just within the 95/395 corridor, but also in the 66 corridor and spreading it for use along all stretches of the capital beltway. HOT is not the answer!
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