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spidermonkey View Drop Down
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    Posted: 02 Aug 2007 at 8:28pm
I am not a 'writer'. Just a grassroots type of guy that wants to get some favorable attention to getting something going to stop this HOT lanes project. Below is a start on wording for an online petition in the vein of the one against the VA traffic fines remedial fees that has been so successful.

Thanks to VDOT for the motivation for this.
Thanks to Bob for the start (added to, tweaked a little).
Thanks to you all in advance for any/all input/feedback.

I would like to initiate this by this weekend so please help frame this properly with me.

Thanks.

===========

To: Governor Kaine, VDOT, and our Elected Officials in the Commonwealth of Virginia

We, the citizens of Virginia, are strongly opposed to the implementation of the High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes that are under consideration for the I-95/I-395/I-495 corridor in Northern Virginia for the following reasons:

1. It should be against federal and state law to convert an existing HOV lane to HOT.
2. We object to the secretive nature of the Public-Private Partnership negotiations.
3. We object to having a private consortium control the most critical interstate system in the U.S.
4. There is inadequate capacity on these roads to support thousands of single occupant toll vehicles and re-striping will not add capacity due to bottlenecks.
5. We believe that within a short time after the lanes become operational, a move will be made to convert the anticipated HOV-3 lanes and/or begin charging tolls to carpools, motorcyles, and/or public transportation vehicles.
6. The citizens of Virginia deserve to know all of the terms of the agreement and have meaningful input into the process before the agreement is signed.
7. We are concerned that this system will harm HOV by crowding the corridor, and in so doing will have long term negative consequences on commute times, air pollution, parking, and public safety of disabled vehicles.
8. Technology that is anticipated for enforcing the HOT lanes is not currently viable and will require other more reliable and much more expensive methods (i.e., manned toll booths for visual inspection, state police) that will result in significantly degraded commute times.
9. The imposition of such a system on the most highly travelled corridor on the East Coast and on the only viable commute option for Washington DC area workers is an unfair tax on living in the area.
10. Other options should be explored including conversion of one of the regular lanes to HOV or HOT or adding a HOT lane to the regular lanes.
11. We must preserve the most successful HOV system in the country. We need more carpools, not single occupant cars.

We, the undersigned, demand VDOT and the State of Virginia to propose an alternative option that will relieve congestion without
adding additional congestion. We will not vote for any local official, or State of Virginia official who supports this inherently unfair transportation option.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

=========

Feedback??

spidermonkey
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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: 03 Aug 2007 at 10:59am
Hi Spidermonkey. I suggest a sentence be added to Number 5: "VDOT & the St. of VA insist that language be added to the Fluor contract guaranteeing that vehicles carrying 3 or more people and Metro buses are never charged a toll for the HOV/HOT lanes at any time.

Fluor is stating this in their handouts but there has been no confirmation from VDOT or the delegates that this provision is in the contract. Thanks for doing this.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jim_va Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Aug 2007 at 12:47pm
New to the HOT issue. Would there be a benefit to including our congressmen in Washington because it involves the Interstate system? Or perhaps a seperate letter to ask them to investigate VDOT and the secrecy of the dealings?

Am willing to distribute information/letters at Horner Road slug lines to raise the visability and urgency of the issue.
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NoSUV View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NoSUV Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Aug 2007 at 1:30pm
I will not support, and will likely campaign against, any petition or proposed legislation that does not include an incentive for consumers to purchase low emission vehicles. The environment is just too important to be ignored.
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spidermonkey View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote spidermonkey Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Aug 2007 at 3:25pm
quote:
Originally posted by NoSUV
[br]I will not support, and will likely campaign against, any petition or proposed legislation that does not include an incentive for consumers to purchase low emission vehicles. The environment is just too important to be ignored.



Ok, NoSUV. Instead of being anti-this (like other threads I've read), try putting your head to work and adding your 2 cents to make this petition something *YOU* can support. I'm not against hybrid technology...just against closing down a system that currently works like a well-oiled machine. Please "pony up" a suggested point to add, I you please.

Be proactive!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NoSUV Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Aug 2007 at 10:35am
spidermonkey -

Very good of you to ask. I'd recommend modifying your point 11:

Transportation efforts must have a neutral or lessor effect on the region's air quality, and as such, must promote mass transit, clean emission vehicles such as hybrids, and high occupancy vehicles. Single occupancy vehicles which are not environmentally friendly should not be able to buy their way into special transportation access.
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Sheepish View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sheepish Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Aug 2007 at 12:03pm
I think #6 is a powerful point in this whole issue, but not written well enough to explain why and perhaps gain outside the DC area support from "citizens of Virginia." The current status of secretive details, lack of technology to manage the lanes, etc. are all examples of what I call poor decision making and the lack of a public vote as is done for bond issues is even more frightening!!
We "citizens of Virginia" will bear the financial costs of bailing out a failed, or poorly negotiated contract for years and years!! If I lived in some other part of the state and got wind of the state venturing into this kind of a deal with no real answers this close to implementing it I'd sure raise a fuss knowing I'd potentially have to "pay for the mistake" down the road with my tax dollars!!!

Again, not sure of the wording to use, but perhaps rewording #6 something to the effect of:

"All citizens across the entire state of Virginia deserve to be informed of all of the terms of the agreement and have opportunities for questions and answers from VDOT officials as to these terms. The information should also contain details for understanding the implications to all citizens, financial or other, should this Private-Public partnership not meet the requirements of either party. Without terms of agreement details and the opportunity to vote on potential financial repercussions of a failed partnership, we question whether VDOT is acting in the best interest for all citizens of Virginia."

Secondary to that, this is a point that should be made in articles in local papers all around this state-- letters to editors, whatever. Folks from other parts of the state wouldn't have an interest if they don't drive the roads like we do, but perhaps would take notice if they knew there was a real possibility of having to bail out the state on a failed "secretive" contract-- one they never really knew was about to take place.

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Bob View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Aug 2007 at 1:42pm
True, Very few people realize the risk of failure - having to not only pay the developer back but risking counter-suits from the developer. For example, if developers want to charge HOV vehicles and VA doesn't allow it and the HOT fails, then developer could sue the state, etc etc. Many possible scenarios.

Separately, I was wondering about the possibility of a lawsuit or threat of one to stop this. Would it be possible for Pr William County to sue the state over this to get it dragged out and aired out at least? I imagine a group such as the Sierra Club could sue, but they have been pretty quiet.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cavvie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Aug 2007 at 1:56pm
Spidermonkey

I think this may be what you are looking for. What think ye?

We the undersigned strongly oppose the I-95/395 High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lane project for the following reasons:

1. We object to the secretive nature of the Public-Private Partnership negotiations between the State of Virginia and private consortiums. All citizens across the entire State of Virginia deserve to be informed of all the terms of any agreement entered into between the State of Virginia and any private consortium under the Public Private Partnership Act. The citizens of the State of Virginia deserve to have any and all questions related to this conversion answered fully and honestly by both their elected officials and VDOT officials prior to any contractual vehicle being executed between the State of Virginia and any private consortium in a public forum. The information should also contain details for understanding the implications to all citizens, financial or other, should this Private-Public partnership not meet the requirements of either party. Without terms of agreement, details, and the opportunity to vote on potential financial repercussions of a failed partnership, we question whether VDOT is acting in the best interest for all citizens of Virginia.

2. It should be against Federal and State law to convert an existing High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane, paid for with Federal and/or State tax revenue, to a private corporation/partnership for HOT with no reimbursement to the taxpayer for the initial cost of building these lanes.

3. We object to having a private consortium being transferred the authority to control a portion of the most critical interstate system in the U.S. with no input or opportunity to vote by the citizens of the State of Virginia into the law which authorizes such a transfer.

4. There is inadequate capacity on 395 to support the addition of thousands of single occupant toll vehicles and re-striping will not add capacity due to bottlenecks.

5. We believe that within a short time after the lanes become operational, a move will be made by the private consortium to convert the HOV-3 to HOV-4 and/or begin charging tolls to carpools, motorcycles, and/or public transportation vehicles.

6. We are concerned that this system will harm HOV by crowding the corridor, and in so doing will have long term negative consequences on commute times, air pollution, and parking.

7. Technology proposed by the private consortium that is anticipated for enforcing the HOT lanes is not currently viable and will require other more reliable and much more expensive and time consuming methods (i.e., manned toll booths for visual inspection, state police) that will result in significantly degraded commute times.

8. The imposition of such a system on the most highly traveled corridor on the East Coast and on the only viable commute option for Washington DC area workers is an unfair tax on living in the area.

9. Other options should be explored and the results provided to the citizens of the State of Virginia on alternatives including having the private consortium purchase right-of-way and add a regular lane to I95 for the purpose of HOT or conversion of one of the regular lanes of I-95 to HOT on a reimbursable basis by the private consortium.

10. We must preserve the most successful HOV system in the country. Transportation efforts must have a neutral or improving effect on the region's air quality, and as such, must promote mass transit, clean emission vehicles such as hybrids, and high occupancy vehicles. Single occupancy vehicles which are not environmentally friendly should not be able to buy their way into special transportation access. We need to promote more carpools, not single occupant cars.

11. We will explicitly campaign and vote against any local official, or State of Virginia official who supports any public-private transportation agreement that does not adhere to these guidelines and in particular, this inherently unfair transportation option.
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spidermonkey View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote spidermonkey Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Aug 2007 at 2:40pm
quote:
Originally posted by Cavvie
[br]Spidermonkey

I think this may be what you are looking for. What think ye?




Excellent re-write Cavvie. Thanks for the inputs NoSUV and Bob!

Others thoughts or comments?

I noticed an omission ("residents") I introduced in 8. See below.

8. The imposition of such a system on the most highly traveled corridor on the East Coast and on the only viable commute option for Washington DC area workers is an unfair tax especially on residents living in the area.

Also, for NoSUV's concern over hybrids being apart of the equation...adding "hybrids" to 5.

5. We believe that within a short time after the lanes become operational, a move will be made by the private consortium to convert the HOV-3 to HOV-4 and/or begin charging tolls to hybrids, carpools, motorcycles, and/or public transportation vehicles.

Any other "points" left out or crucial to include here? I'd like to get something going on this before there is a surrepticious midnight session down in Richmond.

Unfortunately, the slugging community will need the help of the non-slugging community (NOVA residents and down-staters as well) to get the word out and get some publicity on this. While this is physically a NOVA issue, as it has been pointed it, non-NOVA residents should be very concerned about this as well.


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