Thursday, February 17, 2011

VA7 Offers Opportunity for Tolling

Toll Road News reports that "this week politicians are vying in the local press to get recognition for moves they made to get the state to fund $10 million of engineering studies, the first step they say in 3rd laning of the 2X2 lanes Virginia Route 7 (VA7), Leesburg Pike between Tysons Corner and Reston."

Actually Virginia State Route 7 (VA7 in our fashioning) was built and operating as a tollroad in its early days. It's common name Leesburg Pike is an abbreviation of Alexandria-Leesburg Turnpike. A local history says:

"…the turnpike was the lifeline between the farmers in Loudoun and Fairfax Counties and the profitable markets for their goods in Georgetown, Alexandria and Washington to the east.

"Originally called the Alexandria-Leesburg Turnpike, the road was built in the early 1800s by private subscribers, as was the custom at that time. Tolls were charged at crossroads on each section of the pike, so the investors could regain their money.

Toll Road News goes on to report that it is "obviously beyond the ken of today's petty politicians scheming with Secretary Sean Connaughton for $10m of state money for engineering preliminaries, but VA is actually a perfect candidate for toll financing once again - at least the portion outside the Beltway."

It has established traffic of around 60k veh/day over much of its length. It is straight, has decent right of way. It goes through established middle and higher income communities. It provides a great straight shot at the commercial centers of Tysons and Alexandria and has excellent connections to I-66 and I-395 going into Arlington and Washington DC.

Its main competitor the Dulles Toll Road (VA267) is built out.

Fair competition with the Dulles Toll Road and the Dulles Greenway suggest that, like them, it should be toll-financed.

Read the complete Toll Road News report.

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