Will tolls ease our traffic problems?
It's no secret that traffic in the D.C. region is notoriously bad.
Some believe driving less or using public transportation more are better methods of reducing congestion on area roads.
But the head of transportation in the commonwealth recently said tolls are the future as they allow the biggest, quickest impact on managing capacity - seeing there's not much room to build more roads.
Tolls are increasingly becoming a part of life in the area.
There's the long-standing Dulles Toll Road, the recently completed Inter-county connector in Maryland, there's talk of creating high occupancy toll lanes along I-95 in Virginia and then there's the under-construction Beltway hot lanes from Springfield 14 miles north to the Dulles toll road. That project has been officially named the 495 express lanes.
The express lanes will be dynamic, meaning the busier the traffic the more you'll have to pay. The goal is to maintain a minimum speed of 45 miles per hour.
“Spending hundreds of millions of dollars to put in extra lanes so they can just drive faster is just going to make it more dangerous and more frustrating and the people that can't afford to do it will have the same problems as they've always had," says Kelly Hull, a contractor.
The 495 express lanes are scheduled to open near the end of 2012 at a cost of around $2 billion.