Autumn on Lake Audobon

Autumn on Lake Audobon
Autumn on Lake Audubon, Photo by Alison Kamat

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Higher tolls pushing many off the Dulles Toll Road, Washington Post, June 1, 2014

Lori Aratani, Washington Post transportation reporter, has written and excellent article in today's paper that highlights the shift of many drivers away from the Dulles Toll Road to already clogged state highways and local streets as tolls climb ever higher as we forecast two years ago

Here are some excerpts from the article:
When the Dulles Toll Road was built in 1984, it was meant to provide quick local access to the interchanges between the Capital Beltway and Dulles International Airport. An average of 327,296 vehicles traverse the roadway daily. But after five straight years of toll increases, many drivers have decided that the convenience, such that it is, is no longer worth the cost.
“You talk to people and they go, ‘Oh, hell, no — I don’t use the toll road,’ ” said Tammi Petrine, a longtime Reston resident who used to use it but now avoids it whenever possible.
 
Burt Rosenberg, too, has sworn off the roadway.
“It’s the principle,” said Rosenberg, also from Reston, who uses the road only when he’s running late. “I just can’t encourage them, or they’ll just keep raising it.”
Commuters say that avoiding the 14-mile toll road has forced them to get creative, incorporating back roads and side streets into their daily drive. They compare notes with co-workers and neighbors — though not all are willing to share their routes. Some confess to using the Dulles Access Road to get around, even though the free roadway is supposed to be used only by people with airport business.
Airport officials are cracking down on the practice, known as backtracking.
The most recent toll hike took effect in January. Now, most toll road users pay $3.50 per trip. . .
"Ultimately this project will benefit everyone in this region in terms of economic development and in particular for drivers who are going to see less congestion,” said MWAA spokesman Chris Paolino.
But that’s little comfort to folks who may find themselves paying $35 a week — more than $1,800 a year — to drive the road. . .
Not surprisingly, statistics show that as tolls increase, the number of annual toll road transactions decreases. Between 2010 and 2013, the number of transactions on the toll road declined by more than 5 million. . . .
Click here for the rest of this article.  

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