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MWAA Releases Toll Rates to 2014

Community groups concerned about raises and effect on local traffic.

The finance plan for the Dulles Toll Road up to 2015.

The finance plan for the Dulles Toll Road up to 2015.

— The Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority has released its scheduled toll rate increases for the Dulles Toll Road up to 2015. Effective January 1, 2013, tolls at the mainline plaza will be $1.75 (up from $1.50) and the ramps will be $1.00 (up from $0.75).

There are two options currently being presented by MWAA for toll prices from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2014. The first would raise the cost at the mainline plaza to $2.50, with no increase on the ramps. The second would raise the mainline plaza to $2.25, and the ramps to $1.25.

There are two similar options for rates from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 2015. Option A calls for a mainline plaza raise to $2.75 and the ramps raised to $1.75. Option B would raise the mainline plaza to $3.00 and the ramps to $1.50.

ACCORDING TO MWAA, “toll increases beyond 2015 will be analyzed based on actual financial performance and potential receipt of any additional funding.”

The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce released their official response, which includes a preference for greater increases at the mainline plaza.

“We prefer greater toll increases at the main toll plaza than at the ramps so that drivers will be encouraged to use the [Dulles Toll Road] within the corridor for those short trips where transport is not an option,” they said.

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The finance plan for the Dulles Toll Road up to 2015.

The GRCC also called for “some certainty about the toll rates and the transportation improvements that will be made to allow ease of travel.”

MWAA’s 2012 budget calls for 46 percent of its $109 million budget to be used for Metrorail construction financing, and 22 percent going to corridor improvements, six percent to renewal and replacement of noise walls and 26 percent for operations and maintenance.

The budget for the toll road rises to $127 million in 2013 and $149 million in 2014, and each year sees an increase in percentage dedicated to Metrorail funding, from 46 percent this year to 58 percent in 2013 and 61 percent in 2014.

The proposed toll rate increases along the Dulles Toll Road. MWAA projects toll road revenue to cover approximately 54 percent of the almost $5.6 billion for both phases.

So far, there have been no funds put forth from the federal government for Phase Two, and only $23.3 million has been put forth from the state. The other funding sources, Fairfax County, Loudoun County and MWAA aviation funds, are fixed as a percentage of the total amount. Fairfax is responsible for 16.1 percent, Loudoun 4.8 percent and MWAA aviation funds 4.1 percent.

But funding from the toll road is not fixed, by either a dollar amount or percentage. This has raised concerns that should costs go up, the toll road will go up, pushing to burden on its users.

Reston 2020, a committee of the Reston Citizens Association, has released their own take on the increases, which they believe will only serve to increase traffic on Reston’s other roads.

THEIR REPORT claims that the hikes will move more than 40,000 vehicle trips onto nearby roads by 2015, which includes 10,000-15,000 trips in Reston.

This will lead to more congestion, pollution and maintenance requirements. The RCA proposes that toll road users be responsible for a fixed 25 percent of costs, which would prevent tolls from rising above $2.85.

MWAA is currently accepting public comment for a report which will be issued in late October. Comments and questions can be submitted at www.mwaa.com/net/dtr_toll.aspx.