FALLS CHURCH, VA. (WUSA9/AP) - Car drivers are not the only people slated to benefit from the adoption of Express Lanes on Interstate 66 in northern Virginia later this year.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe will be in Falls Church Wednesday to announce a series of transit projects that will accompany the launch of I-66 Express Lanes inside the Capital Beltway.
The projects, already approved by the state, include enhanced regional bus service in the northern Virginia suburbs and expanded bikeshare options.
Beginning in December, solo drivers will for the first time be permitted to use I-66 inside the Beltway during rush hour, though they must pay a toll. Carpoolers can still use the lanes for free.
That toll money will be used to take vehicles off of I-66 to ease travel along the congested highway. To do this, 10 projects have been identified and some are already underway.
The most expensive is a $3 million new Fairfax Connector Express bus service route between the Fairfax County Government Center park-and-ride facility, and the State Department and the Foggy Bottom neighborhood in Washington, DC.
Another project will add a new commuter bus transit service between Gainesville and the Pentagon. In Aldie, a 300-space park-and-ride lot is under construction with a new commuter bus transit service to start.
The tolls are not going to a private company like they do on the Express Lanes, but to the state, and they will be directed to relieve traffic congestion on I-66 inside and outside the Beltway. The public Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC) is in charge of projects making that happen.
The expanded transit options concerns from Express Lanes skeptics who worry the project will increase regional dependence on automobiles.
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