The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) today unanimously approved regional transportation plans that include two major transportation projects: High Occupancy Toll Lanes (HOT) lanes and CapCom.
TPB members voted that the plans, including construction of HOT lanes on the northern Virginia side of the Capital Beltway, meet federal air quality standards and have adequate funding schemes. HOT lanes went through the same process as did the Inter-County Connector, which was approved by the TPB last year. The TPB expects both projects to be ready for public use by 2010.
“The addition of HOT lanes to the region’s transportation plans is another alternative to improve the flow of traffic,” said Fairfax County Supervisor Catherine Hudgins, who serves as TPB Vice Chair.
In addition, transportation departments in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia officially agreed to fund a project currently known as CapCom, a transportation coordination center and program for the National Capital Region.
“CapCom will serve us on a day-to-day basis, not just during tragedies,” said Maryland State Senator John Giannetti. CapCom would improve coordination among state transportation departments by allowing them to share information during all types of emergencies, from major traffic accidents to a potential terrorist attack.
The transportation departments agreed to supply the project with $400,000 over a five-year period, beginning in 2005. CapCom has also received a congressional earmark of $1.6 million as well as $1 million in homeland security funds.
The HOT lanes project will add 4 new lanes to the northern Virginia side of the Capital Beltway. The lanes will be free of charge to carpoolers, while simultaneously giving single drivers the option of paying to use the roadways. Lanes have not been added to the Virginia side of the Capital Beltway since the mid-1970s.