Arlington Told to Pay Up Over Hot Lanes

by Katie Pyzyk July 28, 2011 at 2:45 pm 4,293 59 Comments

Arlington County is being told to hand over some funding, by a group blasting the county for forcing the end to the proposed HOT lane project on I-395.

Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance has released a statement blaming Arlington for the loss of transit improvement funds that would have been generated by the HOT lanes. A key factor in scrapping the HOT lanes project was Arlington County’s lawsuit against the state. The county questioned turning over the project to a foreign company, said the project was poorly designed and said the plan could cause more traffic congestion.

NVTA says Arlington, not other communities which supported the HOT lanes proposal, should have to pay for future transit improvements.  The group suggests dipping into the $60 million earmarked for Arlington highways and transit in the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Six-Year Improvement Plan. NTVA also put forth the idea of stripping funds from the county’s proposed streetcar line, which would run along Columbia Pike and Crystal Drive.

Arlington County withdrew its lawsuit in February, days after VDOT announced it would no longer pursue HOT lanes on the Arlington and Alexandria portions of I-395.

  • nauckneighbor

    I don’t agree with their logic, but pulling funds from the Columbia Pike Streetcar sounds like a good plan. I might be late on this since I just recently moved here, but did the county address how the Streetcar would slow traffic. It seems CP is quite congested as is, and I don’t think a street car will doing anything to alleviate that. Other than that, I can’t think of a good reason to put it in.

    • Glebe Roader

      Are you sure you’re “late on this” or do you just want to stir up some trouble?!?!?!?!?!

    • CW

      Oh god please do not start this.

    • BoredHouseWife

      you know we would have a streetcar if GM didn’t behave so greedy back in the first half of the 20th century


  • Lou

    Something about chickens and roosting.

  • Scott

    Wow, this smells badly of corruption. Somebody wants the money they were promised.

    • BoredHouseWife

      transurban mad they didn’t get to screw the people hand over fist with their hot lane deal. awwwww poor babies. good luck with that. I hope Arlington stands their ground. Those corrupt greedy drones can eat it.

  • NoVapologist

    Pretty funny that a county that openly welcomes “undocumented immigrants” would complain about a foreign company.

    • SSRS

      Ha. I highly doubt you would complain about it in any other setting, but I guess you couldn’t pass up the chance to bring up (insert dramatic music here) ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. I guess it was bound to happen, as it does in every other post on this blog.

      • NoVapologist

        I looked at the ten stories prior to this one and there was no mention of illegal aliens or undocumented immigrants in any of comments to those stories. I think your reading comprehension may be a little off or you’re just hypersensitive.

        But I really do find it funny that the county complained about it being a foreign company. Would they have supported the HOT lanes if it had been an American company? Not likely. So the foreign company angle was just a xenophobic jab that would be more appropriate coming from Prince William county than Arlington. It was the same xenophobic jab that the Washington Times used in their editorial opposing HOT lanes. Not the company that foreignor-friendly Arlington usually keeps.

        • Lou

          The comments about the “foreign company” were just something that Zimmerman let out during a little bit of piling on as this saga was in its final stages. I was surprised to see it listed so high among the complaints in this article. It was never a major point for the County during the early wrangling over this, because as you say it’s a morally indefensible argument for Arlington to make.

  • Brendan

    wah wah wah…

    NVTA, despite their seemingly slick and well-intentioned sounding name is basically a group of fairfax, loudon and prince william county developers.

    If their real motive/mission/purpose is improving transportation in NoVA they wouldn’t being crying like little babies and insisting on withholding future transportation funding from county that serves as a pivotal transportation hub just b/c they didn’t get their way on one issue.

    • Lou

      I think the money they are talking about in this case is for secondary and tertiary transit projects associated with the operation of the HOT lanes. They key word being transit.

    • charlie

      it isn’t clear who NVTA represents and i don’t think they ever vote on these things. they just make it up in the middle of the night.
      they just want to pave all of northern virginia and then they’ll still whine.

    • Lee-n-Glebe

      I just looked them up online. There are real estate and development forms on there, but they don’t seem to dominate. Lots of law firms and tech companies too.


      • Lee-n-Glebe

        -I- not -O-

      • BoredHouseWife

        They are trying to manipulate public opinion and unfortunately for Arlingtonians, a vast majority of those who live in NoVa are not considerate of their neighbors nor fellow citizens. Arlington needs to stand its ground. We are not paying them money because they didn’t pal accordingly.

        • Lou

          Arlington has no ground to stand anymore, so to speak. This is about allocation of monies at a regional and state level. Arlington will just have to wait and see how the money is distributed now.

        • astute observation

          Hmmm – “a vast majority of those who live in NoVa are not considerate of their neighbors nor fellow citizens” – just a coincidence that a vast majority of them are also Democrats? I would say hypocritical Democrats, but I don’t run the Department of Redundancy Department.

    • V Dizzle

      Brendan: amen

  • Ben

    I’ve always thought the whole reversible HOV thing on 395 was stupid.

    It looks like if they would rip it out you could get 3 lanes in each direction. Make 2 of them HOV3 and you still have an additional lane……

    • Burger

      Umm… you are talking logically. You are dealing with Arlington which lacks any logic WRT cars.

  • arlcyclist


    I note that on their handy map of the 21 most important missing transportation links, 1-19 are road building/widening projects. Because you know, building the InterCounty Connector in MARYLAND (18) and widening a portion of the Beltway in MARYLAND (19) are much more important to the Northern VIRGINIA Transportation Alliance than extending Metro to Dulles and beyond (20).

    And if you think the HOT lanes would have alleviated traffic on 395 N into DC, explain how to get around this…

    • arlcyclist

      Meant to reply to Brendan’s comment.

    • Ben

      I personally think the Dulles extension was a mistake. Light rail would have been faster and cheaper.

      • Aaron

        Express buses would have been even cheaper, but then who benefits?

        • Ben

          Ha! It’s a well known fact that white people like any transportation that is not the bus. From the book (Stuff White People Like):

          “White people all support the idea of public transportation and will be happy to tell you about how the subways and streetcars/trams have helped to energize cities like Chicago and Portland. They will tell you all about the energy and cost savigns of having people abandon their cars for public transportation and how they hope that one day they can live in a city where they will be car-free.

          At this point, you are probably thinking about the massive number of buses that serve your city and how you have never seen a white person riding them. To a white person a bus is essentially a giant minivan that continually stops to pick up progressively smellier people. You should never, ever point this out to a white person. It will make them recognize that they might not love public transportation as much as they though, and then they will feel sad.”

          • John

            A lot of white people ride the metro and circulator busses in DC compared with other cities. The 38B in Arlington/Georgetown, the 31/32 along Wisconsin Ave, and the busses along Mass Ave are popular with whites. A lot of white commuters at the West Falls Church Station catch the busses home from there.

          • Ben


    • Arlwhenever

      Waiting for the light to turn green is always a good start.

    • BoredHouseWife


  • Leen-n-Glebe

    I do think the HOT lanes would have generated significant revenue and are a bigger loss than is realized. I do not think the NVTA is going to get anywhere with trying to punish Arlington by taking funds (although I do believe that the Pike Streetcar funds could be put to use on almost anything else).

  • steve85

    Why should we have to pay for a dumb idea by them idiots in Richmond. The money goes to another country to pay for the road for 99 years. That money could had went to fund transportation products like for the Silver line, extend the yellow and blue lines, or build light rails down the major streets like Leesburg Pike and Columbia Pike. They need to understand that building a new street and throwing a toll on it isn’t a way to fix traffic problems. The idea is to take cars off the road not add more car. I applaud Arlington for what they did. That’s why we are a great county.

    • Aaron

      Please, “could have done went” is the per-ferred usage.

      And we don’t want to pay ferners to build us new roads, we just want them to do our lawn care and bring us food dagnabbitall.

      • Lee-n-Glebe


    • BoredHouseWife

      The hot lanes were never about fixing traffic.

    • Talk about dumb ideas….. putting street cars and tracks into crowded Leesburg and Columbia Pikes.

      • Bluemontsince1961

        Rt. 7 is a hot mess now…..imagine what it would be like just for the construction….think Routes 7 and 123 in Tysons are bad now……

  • John Fontain

    Is the County Board that blocked hot lanes because it wouldn’t benefit poorer, minority residents, the same County Board that is now planning to block a WalMart that would benefit poorer, minority residents?

    • Arlwhenever

      A WalMart that could have more easily accessed by an improved interchange the state was planning to build.

    • Chris M.


    • timo

      walmarts don’t benefit anyone but walmart

      • John Fontain

        and the people that shop there. they are a fantastic purchasing agent for the consumer. instead of the typical retail model of trying to charge you as much as possible for a product, they flip the model on its head and try to charge you as little as possible for the product. they make money by helping you save money. just like costco.

        and they would help increase the tax base in Arlington County and they would bring jobs to our county.

        it’s a win-win all around!

        • ZoningVictim

          Walmart sucks and anyone who shops there has no right to complain about American manufacturing jobs going overseas.

          • Landshark

            Not to mention the abuse of the factory workers who produce the cheap walmart stuff.

            I am glad somebody understands what is wrong about world (walmart) domination.

  • Truthi

    Pull the trolley money. Anything has to be a better use than the trolley folly

  • no walmart

    NO HOT Lanes plain and simple it will just screw up the surrounding areas with traffic and will not help VA or Arlington in the long run . There is no money coming to VA residents so why is this being pushed on us !!!!!

  • cb

    This logic also works on the argument that our tax dollars shouldn’t be spent downstate.

  • cb

    What’s the problem with trolleys on Columbia Pike?

  • John

    There is a place for big box retail and that is Route 7. Plenty of Pad sites available.

  • Peter

    This is the same NVTA that last August recommended privatization of all Virginia ABC stores as a one-time cash infusion to fund transportation initiatives. Which sounds great in theory as a one-time bolus, except Virginia would potentially lose out on hundreds of millions in annual revenues.

    We don’t need a knee-jerk reaction to building new roads, and building them quickly. We need a plan for smart growth (similar to the one Arlington envisioned back in the 1950s and 60s with I-66, and in the 70s with the Metro corridors).

    Quit whining NVTA. Your Fairfax is showing.

  • Skeptical

    Despite the word “transportation” in the name, I have never seen NVTA advocate for anything other than more paving. If it is a choice between paving/not paving, or paving versus spending the money on rail and bus, NVTA will always scream that more paving is needed. It’s pretty clear that this is a group of private businesses whose profits will rise if there is more paving. As voters, we are under no obligation to secure their bottom lines.

    And I say that as someone who thinks the Pike streetcar is ridiculous.

  • nota gain

    Favola will surely be welcomed in Richmond if she wins her race. A possible Favola Folley and a waste of money better spent elsewhere. Dump the trolly too.

  • GrandArch

    What’s with ARLnow? You guys have been going off about the HOT lanes suit for ages, now. I know you don’t officially editorialize, but every time someone criticizes it you cover it or put up a poll about it. Could it be that you’re trying to subtly influence the debate?

  • The recent statement issued by the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance about Arlington County and the I-95/395 HOT Lanes project contains false allegations and misrepresents the County’s position. Please click here for Arlington County’s response:



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