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    Posted: 17 Oct 2007 at 7:10pm

As I noted previously in a thread which has apparently disappeared, I e-mailed Fairfax Chairman Connelly after learning that the betway HOT lanes were being capped at 24%, and inquired whether he knew of this fact, and how it would be funded. I also asked whether this changed the Board's support for HOT. Although it took quite some time, he did respond to me today. Below you can see my question and his response...

Dear Sir

In your 2005 testimony, you cited Fairfax County's support for various projects to ease congestion, a part of which is shown below.

" In February 2004, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted the Board's Four-Year Transportation Program. This $215 million package of transportation projects and initiatives is designed to "jump start" delayed and stalled highway and transit projects in the VDOT Six-Year Program. The Board's Program also includes strategies to improve signalization and intersection traffic flow, incident management, pedestrian safety and access, expedited project delivery and telework. The key to easing the pain of congestion is offering choices - choices that are convenient, affordable and safe. HOT lanes, extension of Metrorail, carpool lanes, telework, and more highway capacity provide viable option for commuters. The Board fully understands that the Four-Year Plan is not the answer but rather one locality's attempt to continue the effort to keep up with transportation needs."

I take particular note of the Board's support for HOT lanes. Recently, VDOT announced it had reached a tenative agreement with the contractor for business terms for the beltway project, and would work to reach a similar deal for the I-395 HOT lanes. Was the Board aware when it decided to support HOT that VDOT would be required to pay Fluor for lost revenues if HOV3 exceeds 24% of the lane capacity? Does the Board know how this will be funded? Will it come from taxes collected as part of the last legislatures transportation deal?

I refer you to the following comments made by VDOT and the business
agreement which raise this concern.

"Barbara Reese, Virginia deputy commissioner of transportation and the lead state negotiator said that inflation also played a major role. Costs of steel, concrete and asphalt have increased enormously in the past couple of years.

No text of the agreement is yet available because details of federal
loan support (TIFIA and PABs) remain to be negotiated. An April 2005
agreement is available here.

Reese said other aspects of the agreement will be:

- the HOT lanes will be free for vehicles carrying 3 or more persons, the rest will be tolled

- if free high occupancy vehicles go above 24% of traffic in the HOT
lanes the concessionaire will be entitled to revenue from VDOT for the surplus amounting to 70% of the prevailing toll rates for the first 40 years of the concession or until the project rate of return exceeds a threshold level of 10%

- there are no restrictions on VDOT's right to add free lanes alongside, although the concessionaire can seek compensation for lost toll revenues..."


Does this information alter your position or the Board's for support of the HOT plans?

Dear Sir

Thank you for your email regarding the High Occupancy Toll (HOT) Lanes proposal, specifically the negotiations between the State and the contractor, Fluor-Daniel. It is important that constituent contact their elected officials on issues that affect our daily lives here in Fairfax County, and I appreciate your taking the time to do so.

As you noted in your correspondence, the Board's support of the HOT
Lanes project was part of our goal to provide commuters with choices
they do not currently have. HOT Lanes will be one of those new choices, and I would note one of the major factors behind our support is that this facility will finally make it practical to add transit to the Beltway, starting in the form of buses. As you also noted in your correspondence, this is an agreement between the State and the contractor, not the County. We were not privvy to the negotiations, so I cannot comment on how the State plans to pay for the commitments you lay out in your correspondence. Perhaps that is a question better asked of your state representatives.

I continue to have reservations about the I95/395 HOT lanes proposal, as it does not add capacity like the project on the Beltway. I understand the lanes will be extended further south towards Fredericksburg, but that certainly does not contain any value added from Fairfax's perspective.

Thank you for your correspondence, as well as for remaining involved in this issue. Please do not hesitate to contact me again if I may be of further assistance.


Gerald E. Connolly, Chairman
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors

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Jody View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jody Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Oct 2007 at 10:08am
He has concerns but (1) doesn't offer to contact a state representative for clarification on "revenue" paid to Fluor if carpools exceed 24% on the HOT lanes and (2) still doesn't oppose HOT lanes. Vote him out of office in November.
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