Thursday, January 17, 2008

Bill Would Limit Dulles Greenway Toll Increases

Del. Joe T. May (R-Loudoun) has introduced a bill that would place new limits on toll increases on the Dulles Greenway starting in 2013, while also capping the amount of property taxes the road's owners would have to pay -- a fair compromise, he says. But the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors isn't buying it according to today's Washington Post.

On Tuesday, the board passed a motion opposing the bill in its current form. Supervisors said that although they favored limiting toll increases on the privately owned highway, they could not support a measure that would hamstring the county's ability to raise funds.

The article reports that under May's bill, toll increases beyond 2013 would be limited to the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index since the date the State Corporation Commission had last approved a toll increase, plus 1 percent. May said the details of the proposed limits on real property taxes were being finalized.

The bill would allow the SCC to approve a higher toll increase, however, if the owner could prove that it was otherwise unable to meet the terms of its debt agreements.

A spokeswoman for the Greenway's operator, Toll Road Investors Partnership II (TRIP II), said the company supports May's bill.

The company said its property tax bill rose from about $2 million in 2005 to about $3 million in 2007. Those figures include taxes paid to the Town of Leesburg and the Route 28 tax district, but at least 95 percent of the money went to Loudoun County.

TRIP II won approval in September from the SCC to increase the one-way toll from $3 to as much as $4.80 by 2012. Several toll increases have taken effect since the road opened in 1995, when the fee was $1.75.

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