While staff members of the State Corporation Commission (SCC) have recommended approval of the proposed toll increase on the Dulles Greenway, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-10) urged the commission to hold off a final decision and give the General Assembly a chance to review the public-private agreement that controls the construction and operation of the road.
"The original legislation approved by the Virginia General Assembly authorizing public-private partnerships is flawed," Wolf said. "There is no protection for consumers."
Toll Road Investors Partnership II (TRIP II), the owners of the Dulles Greenway, applied to the SCC for a toll increase up to a ceiling of $4.80 by 2012. A 20 percent higher rush-hour toll would be put in place during three hours in the afternoon for westbound traffic.
According to the schedule proposed by TRIP II, by Jan. 1, 2009, drivers would be paying $3.40 during off-peak hours and $4 during rush hours. By July 1, 2010, the tolls would increase to $3.70 and $4.50 respectively. The increase to $4 during nonpeak hours and $4.80 during rush hours would occur Jan. 1, 2012.
IN HIS LETTER to SCC chairman Theodore Morrison Jr., Wolf asked the commission to side with area commuters and not TRIP II.
"If this toll increase is approved the Greenway will become one of the most expensive toll roads in the country," he said. "It will also have an extremely negative impact on other roads in the area, especially Route 7, because commuters will just stop using the Greenway when they realize how expensive it is to drive every day."
The full State Corporation Commission has yet to rule on the June recommendation of its staff.
— Erika Jacobson