Friday, December 20, 2013

27% Toll Increase January 1st - Pay Up or Fight Back?

What you were promised:
2005 seems like a long time ago. President George W. Bush was sworn in for his second term, Pope John Paul II passed away, and Saddam Hussein went on trial in Iraq. A lot happened that you may have forgotten, or at least, that’s what the folks on the Commonwealth Transportation Board are banking on.

Back in 2005, they released this press release. In it, they announced a toll increase from 50 to 75 cents at the main toll plaza on the Dulles Toll Road, and from 25 to 50 cents on the entrance and exit ramps. According to the CTB, “The quarter toll increase will complete Virginia’s share to fund Phase 1….[and] will also help to fund part of Phase 2. The projected cost is $3.5 billion.” 

The resolution the CTB passed said they might need to make "...a second toll rate adjustment in an amount similar to the adjustment made by the Board in this resolution at or near the time of the commencement of construction of Phase 2;..."

Phase 1 had an estimated completion date of 2011, and Phase 2 of 2015.

What you got:
Fast forward to now. Phase 1, with “estimated completion” of 2011 according to the 2005 press release, is now “nearing completion.” The toll rates of 50 and 75 cents that were supposed to carry us through Phase 1 are long gone – that’s now $1.75 and $1.00, soon to be $2.50 and $1.00 on January 1. The current 27% increase makes round-trip tolls $7.00, about $1,750/yr for a daily commuter.

What does all this mean? It means that MWAA is treating toll road users as a reliable cash cow. As their overly-optimistic estimates of cost and time fall further and further short of reality, they’re coming back to the tap for more of your cash with increasing frequency and a bigger bucket with each trip.

What you can do: 
Toll road users need to take themselves seriously as a political force. If you can still afford to drive the Dulles Toll Road (DTR) look over at the middle lanes and notice that the people in the center lanes enjoy a free ride to Dulles Airport.

Seem unfair? It sure is.

There is an effort underway to toll the center lanes and use the revenue to ease the toll-burden of DTR users. If you’ll join the push for lower tolls we’ll demand that politicians are put on notice that DTR users WILL NOT STAND FOR BEING RIPPED OFF.

Join the thousands who have signed the petition

Officers nab 116 ‘backtrackers’ at Dulles Airport

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