Arlington Delegation Responds to HOT Lanes Letter

by ARLnow.com September 16, 2010 at 1:49 pm 3,111 5 Comments

Backups on I-395 caused by 4/1/10 crashA day after two Virginia legislative leaders — a Democrat and a Republican — sent a letter blasting Arlington’s expensive lawsuit against the planned I-395 HOT lanes project, three members of the Arlington delegation to Richmond have sent a reply.

In subdued, measured language, the letter states support for “properly designed and managed HOT lanes,” but urges the state to “come to the table and negotiate in good faith.” The letter cites “legitimate environmental impact concerns” and “technical issues that must be resolved if the project is to achieve its goal of moving people through the corridor efficiently” as justification for the county’s resistance to the project.

Noticeably absent from the letter is any defense of the lawsuit’s “outrageous claims of conspiracy and racism” that the original letter — sent by Republican House Speaker Bill Howell and Democratic Senate President Pro-Tempore Chuck Colgan — railed against.

The Arlington delegation — Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple, Del. Bob Brink, and Del. Patrick Hope — also avoided reference to the controversial decision to sue four state and federal transportation officials in their personal capacity as part of the lawsuit, which Howell and Colan called a “moral error.”

“We are confident that the Board is not pursuing litigation for its own sake,” the Arlington lawmakers wrote. “We hope that you will use your good offices to urge the Governor and VDOT to come to the table and negotiate in good faith; we will do the same on the local level.”

See the full letter here.

  • Lou

    Let the board speak for themselves.

    The classist claims in the lawsuit are so ill conceived, I find it hard to believe the board actually wrote or approved that. There is basis in some of the technical claims, there’s no reason to go full idiot with the rest.

  • Burger

    In other words, Arlington realizes it is wrong but is looking for a face saving way to get out this jam but will continue to waste taxpayer money until that arises.

  • Jimmy Z

    The fact that the lawsuit identifies individual employees of the state and federal government is truly sad. The fact that employees and their families are put at risk to futher Arlington’s political agenda is morally questionable.

    • charlie

      well it does open up the opportunity for us to take legal action against the county staff when we dont agree with them.

  • Arlington Resident

    Hot Lanes will not result in removing a single vehicle from the road. Hot lanes provide virtually no incentive for people to ride-share or to take mass transit of any kind. On the contrary, Hot lanes will provide an incentive for those currently taking mass transit or ride-sharing to drive alone, thus adding more vehicles and congestion to the entire corridor. The end result is going to be more vehicles on the roadway and more congestion within the HOT lanes themselves. Current ride-sharers are going to have to share the former HOV lanes with single occupant toll paying vehicles…everyone losses. The conversion of current HOV lanes to HOT lanes is going to have the unintended effect of reducing the number of people willing to ride-share and take mass transit and cause more congestion.
    Who loses…..commuters throughout the corridor lose. The people who live in the inner suburbs lose because more traffic is creating more noise, more air pollution, and more cut through traffic through neighborhood streets. Local residents who near Shirlington in South Arlington and Alexandria are really going to lose out. Current plans call for the installation of several traffic lights to accommodate increased traffic from the HOT lanes which is going to create a mini mixing bowl at the intersection of Quaker lane and I 395. Arterial routes in the Shirlington, Fairlington, and Park Fairfax area leading to I 395 are going to be negatively impacted the most.
    Who wins….The company that is going to collect the tolls for the next 80 years….money collected at the expense of the commuters of the corridor and the residents of the inner suburbs.
    HOT lanes do nothing advantageous, so why are we building them? I would agree with perhaps expanding the HOV lanes all the way down to Fredericksburg…that needs to happen, however, converting HOV lanes to HOT lanes doesn’t benefit anyone.
    Here’s a better idea… install metro rail or light rail down the corridor. If that’s too expensive, install a bus rapid transit line with dedicated stations as an interim solution. This idea would completely resolve the issue of the new Marc Center project not having mass transit access. Properly linked with a transit loop at Ft Belvoir, this idea could resolve the looming congestion issues there as well.
    In the meantime, I applaud Arlington county for having to guts and determination to standup to a project that is grossly wrong and ill-conceived.


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