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Not so HOT lanes - Local commuters are about to be taken for a ride
Washington Times ^ | July 13, 2009

Posted on 07/13/2009 6:27:35 AM PDT by La Lydia

Virginia is trying to pull a fast one on motorists who live along the Interstate 95/395 corridor, and we all will be moving slower and paying more as a result...The latest plan effectively hands ownership of Interstate 95/395 to a foreign corporation for the next 80 years. Transurban Group, Melbourne, Australia, will lease the existing high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes for the 64-mile stretch between Spotsylvania, Va., and the Pentagon. Transurban will be responsible for building new access ramps and performing maintenance for the lanes. Drivers interested in a congestion-free ride can pay an expected $1 - or more - per mile to use the HOT lanes while the regular lanes are gridlocked...

The devil is in the details...The Beltway gets new lane construction where it is needed most; 95/395 does not. Instead, between Garrisonville Road and the Pentagon, three lanes will be squeezed into the existing two-lane space...

The commuter who undertakes the 64-mile journey from Spotsylvania would pay a shocking $33,280 each year to use the toll lanes...common commutes from a town such as Dumfries would cost drivers $8,840 each year...adjusting upward for inflation...

...Only those who register for and install a special car-pool tracking device will be allowed into HOT lanes...Because it is in Transurban's interest to minimize the number of nonpaying customers, VDOT agreed to contract language that will actively discourage ride sharing on the Beltway....

...According to the Beltway contract, Virginia taxpayers are on the hook once again if, between now and 2087, improvements are made to free, non-tolled roads in the vicinity of the toll lanes. These agreements ensure that the toll-road company will enjoy a monopoly at taxpayer roads will be neglected and not expanded to create congestion that will force motorists into the tolled lanes...

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Editorial; Front Page News; Government; US: Virginia
KEYWORDS: economy; highways; i95; stategovt; transportation; va2009
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To: scan59
I predict that none of these companies will even come close to seeing the end of these long-term contracts to lease/maintain highways.

What these foreign companies haven't figured out is this: a lawsuit-happy nation that implicitly encourages illegal immigration and goes out of its way to provide all public amenities to them is a terrible place to have any legal responsibility for a highway.

Just think about the I-35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis a couple of years ago. If that road had been leased by a private company, it would have been out of business by now under the weight of all the lawsuits.

21 posted on 07/13/2009 7:09:36 AM PDT by Alberta's Child (God is great, beer is good . . . and people are crazy.)
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To: muawiyah

Actually, the legislation was passed at the behest of Western states, such as Texas and Colorado, who wanted it. The members of Congress who live in NoVA mostly live in the McClean area and close-in Arlington, and they will be screwed by this too, because they depend on the nightmare that is 66, Arlington Blvd. or the Parkway to get into DC, and then have to drive across town. There is no “quick ride” to Capitol Hill from anywhere in the area unless you live there. Driving through town is impossible, and if you’re in Virginia, you have to come across the congested bridges and to make it even uglier, they are doing upkeep on the 14th St. Bridge until next May. Forget about going to the Hill from Maryland in any sane way other than Metro. I fully expect to get on the Beltway someday and get stuck in apocalyptic gridlock.

22 posted on 07/13/2009 7:12:10 AM PDT by La Lydia
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To: muawiyah

80 miles in 35 minutes on the most congested Interstate Highway in America. You are either delusional or a helicopter pilot.

23 posted on 07/13/2009 7:13:58 AM PDT by billhilly
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To: scan59

Arguably, a state assembly may not be empowered by its constitution to commit state resources for a period longer than it is elected to serve.

24 posted on 07/13/2009 7:14:24 AM PDT by Tax Government (Sarah NOW.)
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To: La Lydia
There a good number of Congresscritters who live along the Springfield to Burke corridor. I've ridden in to work with many of them (from the Computer Pickup Points on Old Keenemill Road).

Their quick trip to work depends on being good citizens. The combo toll-road HOV lane deal will cause them lots of trouble.

25 posted on 07/13/2009 7:14:42 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: billhilly

There are secret routes in these high places known only to the natives. (And it’s not 80 miles).

26 posted on 07/13/2009 7:15:32 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: pnh102

I was amazed when I was out in L.A. a few years ago. People actually obey the HOV lanes out there. Here in Memphis everybody rides in the HOV lane (there is only about 8 miles of HOV lane here and that’s 4 miles going west and 4 miles going east) but it’s a joke here. It is paid for by our taxes so we feel free to drive in that lane at any time. I even jumped in the HOV lane out on “the 10” east of L.A. I couldn’t believe the horrible traffic there and there was an open lane (HOV) to the left of the standstill traffic in the other lanes. Those poor people were like sheep!

27 posted on 07/13/2009 7:16:23 AM PDT by Married with Children
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To: muawiyah

Since the work began on the 14th St. Bridge, no amount of good citizenship is effective. Do you ride or drive the slug lines? There are many members of Congress I would not allow in my car no matter how long it takes to get to work.

28 posted on 07/13/2009 7:18:01 AM PDT by La Lydia
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To: La Lydia
One day I was cruising along Franconia Road on my regular trip from work (5904 Richmond) to home, and a light freezing rain hit so fast the traffic continued to flow even though no one had any traction.

I resolved to pull over into Springfield Mall ~ which I did about 5 hours later.

So, yeah, an apocalyptic traffic jam ~ seen it ~ in that place ~ that ice stopped everything for 20 miles each way on I-95.

29 posted on 07/13/2009 7:19:10 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: La Lydia
Congress critters tend to have roomy, comfortable automobiles. I was part of the negotiating team that got the Spfld/DC HOV pickup operations underway. The guys on the otherside of the table were Jack Harrity and Marion Barry (in different places of course).

So, no, I never picked people up either ~ just hitched rides!

30 posted on 07/13/2009 7:20:59 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: muawiyah

he was talking Ashland, near Richmond, not Ashburn, near Sterling. And yes, I have done that trip in 90 minutes or 3 hours. depends on the day. and never take Route 1 as an alternative, it sucks more.

31 posted on 07/13/2009 7:25:49 AM PDT by vin-one (REMEMBER the WTC !!!!!!!!)
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To: muawiyah

According to Google Maps, it’s 82.8 miles with an average driving time of 1 hr. and 22 mins.

32 posted on 07/13/2009 7:26:00 AM PDT by Hatteras
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To: Hatteras

Ashburn VA is just North of Dulles airport. Take 7100 (Springfield Bypass) to the Greenway (267) ~ Takes about half an hour on Saturday morning.

33 posted on 07/13/2009 7:30:16 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: vin-one

I always think of Ashland as in KY and that’s about 10 hours on a good day ~ when you cut through West Virginia.

34 posted on 07/13/2009 7:31:33 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: Alberta's Child
I fully expect that the foreign lessee factored this into the equation and made the state either grant immunity or assume risk for incidents like the I-35W bridge. Big government is fond of exempting itself from rules and risks which they impose on others. It only stands to reason that “partnerships” which provide it a revenue stream would insist on the same types of protection.
35 posted on 07/13/2009 7:36:22 AM PDT by Vigilanteman (Are there any men left in Washington? Or, are there only cowards? Ahmad Shah Massoud)
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To: deport

Sure does smell like the Trans Texas Corridor consortium has targeted another hapless state...

Boy, you guys in Virginia are in for a real treat...Yer gonna love this...

Watch where the funding goes...Who is targeted for the contracts...Watch the work that will be done in the Virginia to the state transportation code (under the radar) to setup the beauracracy, fees, easement utilization, and final leasing of the roadway and who will be truely benefitting from this landgrab by your government...

Watch for Community/Comprehensive Development Agreements (called CDA’s) and companion Public/Private Development Agreements (or PPA’s)...Depending on how they word it obviously...

Folks in Virginia need to beat this thing to a pulp...Anf they need to get on it right now...And do not let up...

And in the end the folks tht support this will say the naysayers only want to raise taxes...Tell them to shove that BS where the sun doesn’t shine...

This is a really great opportunity to show another state government how effective and tenacious grassroots activism can be...And they hate it...

This is another thing we all need to be talking about and keeping the pressure on those who want to carve up our countries soverienty and security...

36 posted on 07/13/2009 7:37:12 AM PDT by stevie_d_64
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To: muawiyah
Actually, your tax dollars didn't build these highways ~ mine did.

You must be under the mistaken notion that there is no Federal money in your roads. There is always Federal money in "Interstate" roads.

37 posted on 07/13/2009 7:40:32 AM PDT by GingisK
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To: muawiyah
"We also need about 15 new crossing points over I495, and Little River Turnpike should be modified into an 8 lane limited access combination expresslane/access road system ~ preferably from Centerville to Annandale."

Check this out to raise your blood pressure: Link

The "Monticello Freeway" (Braddock Road) would have basically been what you suggested. It's amazing what officials pissed away here. And BTW, no one addresses the traffic tie-ups thanks to the HOT construction. 495 is now messed up almost every day from just north of 236 to try to get to 66 starting around 2:00. Same for coming south from Tysons.

38 posted on 07/13/2009 7:43:35 AM PDT by mikey_hates_everything
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To: Vigilanteman

Maybe I’m wrong about this, but I don’t think a government can ever grant “immunity” up front like that. The state may indemnify the lessee in certain cases of liability, but I don’t see how a blanket indemnification could ever stand up in a court of law.

39 posted on 07/13/2009 7:45:26 AM PDT by Alberta's Child (God is great, beer is good . . . and people are crazy.)
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To: La Lydia

It is scary and disappointing that a state would prostitute to a foreign company pieces of a road that is owned BY THE PEOPLE. Did the people of the state approve this? This is not right and should be banned. If I lived in this state I would consider moving even in these hard times. Unbelievable and sickening.

40 posted on 07/13/2009 7:47:16 AM PDT by Pilated
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