WASHINGTON, DC – Members of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) voted today to include projects—such as proposals to toll portions of I-66 in Virginia and expand the bike lane network in the District of Columbia—in an air quality analysis of the region’s long-range transportation plan. This fall, the TPB will vote on adding these projects to the Financially Constrained Long-Range Transportation Plan (CLRP) once the analysis is completed to determine if the plan meets federal air quality standards.
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is proposing to convert I-66 inside the Capital Beltway to a managed Express Lanes facility by 2017, with tolling in both directions during the morning and evening peak periods. Those with three or more people would travel for free. Today, the highway is restricted to vehicles with two or more people during peak periods, but only in the peak direction. The proposal also calls for widening a portion of the highway by 2040 from Fairfax Drive to the Beltway. The cost for the inside-the-Beltway proposal is $350 million.
VDOT is also proposing to reconfigure I-66 for about 25 miles outside the Beltway between I-495 and US Route 15 in Prince William County to have three general-purpose lanes and two managed Express Lanes in each direction by 2022. One Express Lane in each direction would be built new, and the other would come by converting the existing high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane. The cost for the outside-the-Beltway proposal is $2-3 billion. The Express Lanes will be tolled at all times with vehicles with three or more people, including buses, traveling for free.
During today’s TPB meeting, officials discussed changes made by VDOT over the past month to the inside-the-Beltway proposal, including greater detail on the transit services on these Express Lanes, improvements to bicycle-pedestrian facilities, park and ride lots, and the implementation of other travel demand management strategies. The Board also sought and received a commitment from VDOT to conduct an evaluation of the effectiveness of the tolling and multimodal improvements prior to widening the highway inside the Beltway.
The District of Columbia Department of Transportation (DDOT) is proposing to add ten dedicated bike lane projects to its existing bicycle network in 2015. These projects will remove one or more lanes for vehicular traffic on approximately 9 miles of streets throughout the District. The cost for the bike lane expansion is just under $500,000.
The CLRP identifies all regionally significant transportation projects and programs—more than 600 in total—planned from the present until 2040. The projects and programs that go into the CLRP are developed cooperatively by governmental bodies and agencies represented on the TPB.