Friday, October 9, 2009

Dulles Toll Road Seeks $44 Million in Federal Stimulus Money

Toll Road News reports that the Dulles Toll Road has been "put in for $44.1 million of stimulus (aka ARRA TIGER) grants from the federal government to fund full open road tolling by its new operator Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA).

"Called an ORT Corridor Mobility Project it will aim to make toll collection "frictionless" according to a fact sheet provided by MWAA to Toll Road News. At the mainline toll plaza there would be toll lane reconstruction and additional lanes.

"For now open road tolling is likely to provide for 3 lanes each direction but eventually the full four lanes will need to be covered each direction, so gantry structures are likely to provide for 4 lanes. New pavement is normally needed to emplace tracking and vehicle classification loops.

"Also mentioned as part of the project:
  • improved separation between stopping traffic and the highway speed traffic in the central lanes
  • extra approach and departure transitions
  • upgrades to striping and signage
  • a new toll collection system
  • incident warning and dynamic message signs

Toll Road News reports "the Feds have two reasons for rejecting the application. First, improvements to electronic toll collection are clearly labor saving, and stimulus grants are supposed to create jobs. Second the Feds administering the program are prejudiced against Virginia and have been extremely critical of the slow speed with the state has used federal stimulus monies in the past.

"Data the feds provided show as of Sept 1 work had only begun on only 16.5% of the $695m of road and bridge projects for which Virginia received federal stimulus funds, compared to 43% nationally.

"A letter to Virginia governor Kaine said 'your state ranks last among all states (51 out of 51), based on an analysis of the percentage of Recovery Act highway formula funds put out to bid, under contract and under way.'"

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