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    Posted: 12 May 2010 at 10:45am
From WTOP:

May 12, 2010 - 6:36am

Engineering designs and financing for the High Occupancy Toll lanes project along the Interstate 95/395 corridor from Massaponax to the 14th Street Bridge could be in place in the next few weeks.
The economy and design changes stalled the long planned HOT lanes.

"We would still have to resolve the issue involving the lawsuit," says Virginia Transportation Secretary Sean T. Connaughton.

A lawsuit filed by Arlington County is making its way through the courts. The suit seeks to halt the entire project along I-95/395. Arlington believes the state's environmental study was inadequate and that low-income and minority residents along the corridor would be harmed by new air pollution.

Connaughton says Virginia would like to the 14 miles of HOT lanes being built along the Capital Beltway extend into Maryland.

"In the long term, we would like to see Maryland pursue either HOT lanes or HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lanes on the Beltway that would simply connect right up there," Connaughton says.

He says the state could have an agreement within the next few weeks to extend the HOT lanes 1.5 miles closer to the Maryland border. The project would end at the American Legion Bridge, rather than just north of the Dulles Toll Road.

The extension would be paid for by Fluor-Transurban, the consortium of two private firms that partnered with the Virginia Department of Transportation to build the lanes. The state and civic groups would need to approve the project.

WTOP's Hank Silverberg contributed to this report.

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