Express toll and carpool lanes planned for I-66

HAYMARKET, Va. (WUSA9) -- Even in the middle of the summer, the commute is miserable.
I-66 is one of the most congested highways in Northern Virginia. However there are finally plans in the works to relieve the gridlock on I-66.

"We are dedicated to getting this project to fruition," said Aubrey Layne.

"We had a similar study underway ten years ago that was cancelled, so we're a decade behind, but it's good we're moving forward." said Bob Chase with the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance.

Just like those new express toll lanes on the Beltway and the ones under construction on I-95, VDOT wants to bring them to I-66, from Haymarket to the Beltway. However, since I-66 inside the Beltway is carpool only, express drivers headed in to D.C. could clog the neighborhood roads.

Former Transportation Secretary Del. Vivian Watts, (D) Dist. 39 said, "This facility is going to help those who are working in Tysons Corner. And that's a good regional linkage. But to get into D.C. we need park and ride lots."

The $2 -$3 billion dollar project would be built through a public-private partnership. In each direction, three lanes would remain free, while two express lanes would be for hov three carpools or those willing to pay.

"I think that's bullsh**t. We pay for the road to be built and I really don't think we need to pay to use the roads that we already pay taxes to bulid," said one driver in Haymarket.

"There is no free lunch. What I do like about is that as long as there's a free alternative, you have a choice," said Sec. Layne.

VDOT is also planning for rapid bus service in the express lanes and will leave space to expand metro rail west of Vienna if the money to do it ever becomes available.

"You can chose free lanes, carpool, bus, toll lanes. Having choices, that's what transportation options are all about," said Pat Herrity, (R) Springfield Supervisor.

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