Monday, December 17, 2012

Our Stories- How DTR Tolls Hurt Our Families

We can talk about the environment, traffic, injustice, etc. but where it really hits home is when we explain how increased tolls on the Dulles Toll Road hurt our families. We are all local residents just trying to protect our families and our way of life. Here are some of our stories:

From Erik:
Hello, my name is Erik and I am a Maryland resident. I commute to Reston daily. For the past 12 months I’ve being taking alternate routes to avoid the rising cost of the Toll Road. Please feel free to share my story with everyone.
I’ve been commuting to Reston for over two years now and watched the tolls do nothing but steadily climb. What are we getting for these increases in cost, absolutely nothing. The road quality is poor and traffic is not getting any better. So this year I decided to find ways around the Toll Road. Now, due to MWAA, I’m riding thru your neighborhoods and by your schools. Increasing your residential traffic and bringing extra wear and tear on your side and city streets. If I were ever going to take the unreliable Metro system to work then I may not have much of an issue paying the toll, but since I will never use it to come from Southern MD I don’t feel obliged to pay for it. Mileage wise, my commute has gotten slightly longer, but traffic on the back roads is lighter. A few speed bumps and one lane roads will not deter me like the unfair increases have. Besides, I’d rather use my money on the Hot Lanes. At least they provide the benefit of traffic avoidance and it’s up to me to decide if I want to pay for them or not.

Well that’s it, that’s my story. I’m a single dad, middle class, taxpaying American just trying to be treated fairly. I know since I’m not a VA resident my vote doesn’t matter to your government but maybe hearing about people like me can help in this power struggle.

From a mom in Ashburn:
"I live outside the 1 mile proposed special tax rate area but within the 2 mile radius. Let me put it into prospective for you:I am a working mom. My spouse also works. We both commute which means tolls. We pay a lot in tolls for two cars each way 5 days a week. One of the proposed way to pay for metro will be to increase those tolls. So I am already going to be paying a lot for my two car family. We don't have the luxury of commuting together. Add to that a proposed increase in my property tax. Yes it's great that my home is worth more, but I still have to pay for that in taxes. Add on top of that a special tax for living within a two mile radius. I am now having to budget way more money then ever between the tolls, property tax, and now a special tax. My family simply cannot afford that. When I moved out to Ashburn we had to budget very carefully what we would pay in tolls (which have since on the Greenway gotten out of control and will only get worse).

You are basically going to price out of our home.In speaking with my neighbors it is very clear to me many of them do not understand how metro is being paid for which leads to false results of who is really "pro metro". Many are pro metro - but once you explain the cost you get - NO!!! So believe me when I say MOST of your voting public do not want metro at this cost. Please vote No. Many, many, many families live in your district. Many of them are two parent working families and you are going to put a HUGE financial burden on them. These are not the people that will be using the metro most of all. 

Please review the facts and costs. Please understand your district and the people and their situations that make up that district."

From Josh:
The decision to increase the Dulles Toll Road's (DTR) tolls to subsidize the construction of Metro's Silver Line is going to have an tremendous negative impact on me financially, and likely many others that rely on the DTR for daily transportation. At current rates, the DTR already costs me over $1000 per year which is barely manageable. These increases would result in a total cost of nearly $2000 per year if I were to use the DTR exclusively, which I will no longer be able to afford to do. Thus, I'll be forced to find alternate routes for my commute, through residential neighborhoods and joining others forced to do the same.

My office, at which I've worked for over 15 years, is located in Reston, right off the DTR. My home is nowhere near a metro station, so I will not be able to use the Silver Line and will see no benefit from its construction. There are a number of back roads I can use to commute to work, as an alternate to the DTR, but they all route through residential neighborhoods and add at least 15 minutes to my commute each way (likely to increase as more drivers are forced off the DTR onto residential streets due to these toll increases).

What is most disturbing to me is that the toll increases were approved despite overwhelming public comment against the increases. It is blatantly unfair for our lawmakers to assign the burden of individual fundraising for the Silver Line solely to those that rely on the DTR, many of whom will not ever use the metro extension. Beginning January 1, 2013, I will be forced to start taking alternate routes to work.

Please email your story to or leave it as a comment to this post.

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