Hal Pal claims in his TV ads that he will put a stop to I66 tolls. Yes, darn it. The ad would lead one to believe that anyone who uses I66 inside the beltway will have to pay a toll. Of course, this is a big lie perpetuated by the Virginia GOP particularly in Northern Virginia. The lie is a means to whip up the masses who might not take the opportunity to find the truth. I66 tolls inside the beltway will only apply during rush hour. The tolls will only apply to folks who don’t meet the HOV requirement. Right now a solo driver cannot use I66 inside the beltway during rush hour (unless you want to risk a great big fine.)
The toll choice, and that’s what it is, a choice, will allow a solo driver who wants to pay up to $9 eastbound and or $8 westbound during rush hour if the driver wants to use the road. The toll, by the way, is dynamic. The maximum toll roundtrip would be $17. But with lighter traffic, the toll would be lower just like the tolls are currently calculated for the EZ pass lanes on 95 and the Virginia beltway. Keep in mind, with or without the toll plan, I66 will go to HOV3 by 2017. So those who currently use I66 as an HOV2 vehicle will have to either pay the toll or find another passenger. The tolls that are generated will be used for I66 improvements and maybe those needed additional lanes inside the Beltway which I doubt I will see in my lifetime.
So the Hal Pal scare tactics need to be examined carefully. What is ironic is that Hal Pal missed 34 transportation meetings and did not support a transportation plan. (Hal Pal says that someone was at the meetings on behalf of Manassas when he could not attend but Hal Pal was the only voting member from Manassas.) Maybe if Hal Pal had been as pro-active on behalf of Manassas commuters as he apparently was for Fairfax County (he claims he was responsible for Route 28 improvements between Centreville and Route 7 in Fairfax and Loudoun County), Route 28 wouldn’t be a parking lot not only during rush hour but nearly all day long. I call this management by crisis and not by objectives. We sure don’t need that kind of thinking. Hal Pal would be a disaster for us all.