Reston Spring

Reston Spring
Reston Spring

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dulles Toll Road Toll Increases and You: Did You Know . . .

Dulles Toll Road Toll Increases and You

DID YOU KNOW MWAA’s traffic & revenue consultant forecasts—
  • doubling full one-way tolls on the Dulles Toll Road (DTR) next year?        
  •  . . . tripling tolls ($6.75) within five years?
  • . . . nearly quadrupling tolls (to $8.75) within a decade?
  • . . . and making further huge toll increases until at least 2047 when they will reach $18.75?
And no one—not even Congress which created MWAA—has the authority to prevent MWAA from making these massive toll increases under current law.


What do these toll increases mean to the Dulles Corridor and its residents and employees?

Crippling Regular DTR User Costs
They mean that the cost of using the DTR for regular toll road users (44 work weeks per year) will increase more than eight-fold from less than $1,000 in 2012 to more than $8,000 in 2050.
·         Even on a real cost basis, assuming inflation is 2.5% per year, tolls will increase more than three-fold.  Would you pay nearly $8 each way to use the DTR today?


The toll increases will consume nearly half of the future after-tax income growth of weekday Fairfax DTR commuters who earn the current County average household income ($103K).
  • That assumes Fairfax income growth will be as robust as it has been since 1990 (2.8%/yr.) and inflation remains at 2.6% of the last two decades.  
  • That’s money families won’t be spending on rents/mortgages, education, shopping, medical care, entertainment, etc.
Do you want to spend half of your future raises on tolls?


Massive Traffic Diversion to Local Roads

Instead of using the DTR, large numbers of current and future potential DTR users (from new jobs & residents nearby) will shift their driving to local roads.  Based on MWAA’s traffic and growth data, we estimate—
  • 36K vehicle trips per day will shift to local roads by 2015, about one-third of those in Reston . . .
  • That number will more than double by 2030 (73K trips per day) and . . .
  • . . . nearly triple (103K trips per day) by 2050!
Already congested area highways and local roads will become absolutely gridlocked, costing not only driver's time, but adding to regional environmental damage.  On the other hand, the DTR will become "The Highway of the One Percent," driving to work, shop, and play at the speed limit or above.


Reduced Dulles Corridor Economic Growth

The massive increases in tolls will almost certainly erode forecast economic growth--jobs and population--in the Dulles Corridor, undercutting Virginia and County expectations for higher tax revenues to meet growing spending needs.  People who won't be able to afford the DTR or are unwilling to pay the exorbitant tolls will find homes and jobs in other areas of Metropolitan Washington. 
  • Investments in Fairfax County road improvements, education, parks & recreation, and social programs, among others will need to be reduced—or property taxes raised--despite a growing demand for services. 
  • Other areas of Metro Washington will gain from the unfulfilled growth along the Dulles Corridor, including the I-270 technology corridor in Montgomery County.  

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your analysis! These Toll increases could kill our communities through the toll-avoidance traffic and economic stagnation that could come, especially with some high commercial vacancy rates (15% for Northern VA)

    We have a No Toll Increase petition located here:


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