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    Posted: 09 Feb 2009 at 12:36pm
Some models for the new toll road up I95 predict fees as high as $1 per mile inside the Beltway. Some models say that number is too low and fees would need to be as much as $5 per mile for the most northern sections to restrict an influx of Alexandria/Arlington drivers.

Do the math on that: easily over $15 each way for anyone outside the Beltway.

If you use it only twice a week, you can expect to pay AT MINIMUM $240 per month.

But there are plenty of folks who will be happy to pay that: namely, anyone who has plenty of money and is willing to pony up for the convenience (or can expense it to their business or clients.)

But there are plenty of other folks who CANNOT afford to use these roads, even occasionaly: teachers, students, firefighters, waitresses, etc.

The whole premise of these variable-priced toll roads is to restrict access by raising the fee until only a few drivers can afford to pay it. In other words: if you have the money, you get to use the special lanes -- if you don't have the money, you have to use the regular lanes.

This is inherently un-American.

From the Federal Highway Administration:

“Set HOT toll at hourly cost of congestion delay for the top ten percentile of income distribution. ‘Shift’ top ten percent of vehicle to HOT lane.” Chapter 5.3.3

Or spelled out in greater detail:

“In a more complex, but perhaps more realistic version of this, HOT lane tolls are repeatedly set to reflect the income distribution of SOV drivers in the general-purpose lane. Those SOV users at the top of the income distribution – who place the highest value on time – are shifted first, and a test is made to determine whether there is any remaining capacity in the HOT lane.” Chapter 5.3.3

Let the top ten percent into the lanes first?

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