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HOT Lanes "won't cost Virginia taxpayers a dime"

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Forum Name: HOT Lanes Discussion
Forum Description: Post messages regarding High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes here.
Printed Date: 25 May 2020 at 10:44am
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Topic: HOT Lanes "won't cost Virginia taxpayers a dime"
Posted By: PickEmUpAndBringEmHome
Subject: HOT Lanes "won't cost Virginia taxpayers a dime"
Date Posted: 13 Dec 2008 at 8:01pm

Link to PW Pulse Story online:

HOT lanes raise affordability, safety questions in Woodbridge
PW Pulse 2008-12-07

By Uriah A. Kiser // // 703-878-8065

Published: December 7, 2008

An update on the proposed HOT lanes was met with tough questions Thursday night at the monthly meeting of the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission.

Young Ho Chang, who is managing the Northern Virginia HOT lanes project for the Virginia Department of Transportation, told the board that replacing the current HOV commuter system is important to the local economy and to improve the quality of life for area commuters. But the most important part of his pitch? The new lanes won't cost Virginia taxpayers a dime.

The proposal calls for the addition of a third express lane in the center Interstate 95, from the Pentagon south to Dumfries. A single lane would then be extended from Dumfries to Garrisonville Road in Stafford.

A separate, southern portion of the project would extend the lanes from Stafford to Spotsylvania, spanning nearly 60 miles when complete sometime in 2014.

Fluor-Transurban, an Australian-based company, has agreed to design, build and maintain the lanes. They will also collect toll revenue from the road, at more than $1 per mile during high traffic times.

"The beauty of congestion-based pricing is you can control the flow of traffic," Chang said.

While the prospect of a private company building new highways in a time where state transportation money is tight seems like a win-win, PRTC board members raised concerns about how much the lanes will cost drivers, how they are designed, and dwindling money for public transportation that was included in the initial proposal.

"It is important for people who live in Woodbridge to know whether or not they can afford to use to take the lanes to the Pentagon," Maureen S. Caddigan, R-Dumfries, said, questioning VDOT's inability to say exactly what the toll will be.

Once the third lane is added, the lane width will be reduced from 12 feet to 10 feet wide from the Prince William Parkway to the Pentagon. Because there is more room, the lanes will remain 12 feet wide from the parkway south to Garrisonville, Chang said.

"If a [commuter] bus breaks down and you have vehicles going at speed, do you want to be the first person off that bus?" asked Frank Jones, chairman of the PRTC board, citing the limited amount of standing room on the shoulder while waiting for another bus to pick them up.

Board members also cited the reduction of transit dollars allotted from the project, that will go strictly for transit improvements—once marked at nearly $300 million now reduced to just $195 million.

The lanes will be designed to better accommodate buses, with the possible addition of a bus rapid transit station on or near the highway. The station could mirror Metro rail stations along Interstate 66, but parking would remain an issue, board members said.

Carpoolers will still be able to use the lanes for free as long as they have three or more passengers in the car. The project is also slated to bring with it at least 3,000 new commuter parking spaces, paid for by Fluor-Transurban, but Chang stopped short of saying where they would go.

Construction has already begun on the 14-mile stretch of HOT lanes on the Capital Beltway, from the Springfield Interchange to just north of the Dulles Toll Road. Under a public-private partnership with the state, Fluor-Transurban is building the lanes and will operate and maintain them for 80 years. After that VDOT will assume the operation and maintenance of the lanes.

It will ultimately be up to the local jurisdictions to approve HOT lanes, and Chang offered to meet with local officials one a one on one basis, if necessary, to answer questions about the project.

If approved construction could begin as early as 2010.

"If it is anything like we've seen on the Beltway construction will begin fast, we may just have to bite the bullet and get it done," Chang said.

Staff writer Uriah A. Kiser can be reached at 703-878-8065.

FKA Atlantis.99

Posted By: Jody
Date Posted: 15 Dec 2008 at 2:05pm
Adding/maintaining the toll/HOV lanes won't cost taxpayers a dime??? Each toll collected from SOVs, part of money is going to go towards the construction/maitenance of the toll/HOV lanes. I knew VDOT was delusional about this plan, but now I think they're totally deranged.

Posted By: toomuchcoffeelady
Date Posted: 16 Dec 2008 at 4:31pm
Reeks of corruption. VDOT sold us out.

Posted By: ybarra
Date Posted: 17 Dec 2008 at 12:49pm
And just how were you "sold out" since we still get to ride for free? And we get an extra lane and some of us would like to see the lanes extended further south. What am I missing here?

Posted By: ybarra
Date Posted: 17 Dec 2008 at 12:54pm
Oh, and by the way, with today's economic climate revenues NOT streaming in, I doubt VDOT will be able to afford to bring the lanes further south. They need a private partner to do it.

Posted By: n/a
Date Posted: 17 Dec 2008 at 3:24pm
Originally posted by ybarra

Oh, and by the way, with today's economic climate revenues NOT streaming in, I doubt VDOT will be able to afford to bring the lanes further south. They need a private partner to do it.

Hey ybarra, what rock did you crawl out from under? I won't waste everyone's time rehashing why this is literal Highway Robbery, you can go back and read the dozens of posts that discuss this in detail. I won't re-discuss how our a portion of property taxes are already earmarked for transportation (but VDOT has is not able to balance their books), and how the contract with Flour/Transurban literally guarantees they will make a profit at the taxpayers expense if need be, or how there is no guarantee that HOVs will continue to ride for free, or how the whole contract was awarded without public scrutiny or debate. I also won't re-make the argument that these short-term VODT budget fixes do not provide for budget shortfalls as highway maintenance costs rise in future years.

However, it merits mentioning that your lack of knowledge about this has always been the goal of VDOT in this project and is exact reason it will happen. This is a behind-closed-doors deal designed to make the current VDOT administration look good at taxpayer expense.

Welcome to the daylight ybarra! Soylent green is people!

Posted By: Cavvie
Date Posted: 18 Dec 2008 at 10:30am
Notice how Ybarra keeps insisting HOV will be free despite my earlier posting on how Richmond can and will take that funding away at the drop of a hat once Transurban has their contract. Ybarra continues to swallow the bait from VDOT that says HOV will be free, which is the technique VDOT uses to actually get the contract signed. Once signed, HOV funding will be cut by the legislature in Richmond to save money and HOV will NO LONGER BE FREE YBARRA. It will happen and when it does, the VDOT shills like Ybarra will be nowhere to be found. Because Ybarra continues to repeat the same party line despite what everyone has written, thinking if they repeat it enough times it will be true, I'm wondering if Ybarra might be the former Transportation Secretary Shirley Ybarra who got us into this nut roll in the first place. If Ybarra is in fact the same Shirley Ybarra, she continues to demonstrate the typical Richmond and VDOT technique of preaching the virtues of HOT and public private partnerships despite not having all the facts and without going to any of the trouble of reading or listening to what the people of Virginia actually think or feel about this project. Remember the VDOT public meetings that VDOT keeps saying were used to get public input. The same meetings we all attended and when we tried to voice our opinion, we were told to sit down and shut up because the meeting was for public information only with very little information available. Oh well, don't let the facts, or the citizens of Virginia stand in your way. There's money to be made out there, so let's get cracking.

Posted By: n/a
Date Posted: 18 Dec 2008 at 3:48pm
You may be right about Ybarra

Here's Ybarra's bio from the website (interesting to note that Reason is not neutral nor is it non-biased but is a pro-highway privatization org):

"Shirley Ybarra is a senior transportation policy analyst at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets.

Ms. Ybarra served as Secretary of Transportation for the Commonwealth of Virginia from 1998 to 2002, overseeing a budget of $3.2 billion and a staff of 13,000 people. Between 1994 and 1998, Ybarra was Virginia's Deputy Secretary of Transportation.

Ybarra also served as senior policy advisor and special assistant for policy for U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elizabeth Dole from 1983 to 1987. In that role, Ybarra managed the transfer and privatization of Dulles and National Airports to the Washington Metropolitan Airport Authority.

Ybarra authored Virginia's Public-Private Transportation Act of 1995, considered the model public-private partnership legislation in the United States.

In 2001, Ybarra received the American Road and Transportation Builders Association's "Public-Private Ventures Entrepreneur of the Year Award" for her leadership in designing innovative infrastructure financing."

I wonder how much of Ybarra's current (and past) payroll is made up of contributions by highway contractors!? Funny, but as an ingnorant taxpayer I would think that someone in the role of VA Secretary of Transportation should represent the PEOPLE of Virginia. Instead she seems to curry to foriegn contractors bent on overturning laws like the National Interstate Highway Act, enacted by former President Eisenhower to provide free transportation to the American public. Hmmm, provide freedoms to the American public! Now that's a novel idea!

Posted By: Jody
Date Posted: 18 Dec 2008 at 4:33pm
I would believe ybarra's statement about carpools will ride free for the length of the contract if VDOT would post the language in the SIGNED CONTRACT where it stipulates that term/condition.

Show me the contract! Otherwise stop posting your propaganda on this webpage. No one is buying your snake oil sales pitch.

Posted By: toomuchcoffeelady
Date Posted: 19 Dec 2008 at 12:28pm
Originally posted by ybarra

And just how were you "sold out" since we still get to ride for free? And we get an extra lane and some of us would like to see the lanes extended further south. What am I missing here?

No, we DON'T ride for free, we'll either be paying cash upfront to ride in the HOT lanes, or if "too many" people slug/carpool, we'll have to pay out extra tax dollars to Transurban.


Posted By: SpongeBob
Date Posted: 09 Feb 2009 at 9:45am
The former VDOT Secretary is posting on our site? What?

(Oh, I've clearly been away too long!)

Wonder if she'll have the guts to show tonite?

Ms. Ybarra, I publicly challenge you to a debate about this tonite at Potomac High School. I will meet you in the foyer, since, having been to these travesties before, I know that citizens get no real opportunity to speak during the actual "meetings".

Your entire philosophy of privatization is inherently flawed. Your model for the toll roads is elitist. Your designs for the road are flatly incompetent.

Having taken a taxpayer-funded salary under several Republican administrations, it is no surprise you set yourself up in DC as a lobbyist. Others may draw their own conclusions on that issue.

Fellow slugs, please take a moment to visit Ms. Ybarra's corporate website at and review the pages "Who we serve" and "What we do". As of this morning, both are blank.

Also look at her connections on LinkedIn and consider the names and companies of the people to whom she is linked.

Finally, consider that Ms. Ybarra's home address is at the Watergate.

Ms. Ybarra, I look forward to seeing you tonite. Although you probably won't be able to make it without picking up slugs.

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