VDOT is proposing to convert I-66 inside the Beltway to High Occupancy Toll lanes during peak hours, accessible only to buses, cars with three or more occupants, and those willing to pay a toll. Currently, I-66 is not tolled and is accessible to cars with two or more occupants during peak times.
The proposal also reportedly removes the allowance for Clean Fuel plates, which permits commuters with such plates, issued before July 1, 2011, to drive in the HOV lanes without meeting the passenger limit.
Hybrid vehicle owner, I-66 commuter and community organizer Greg Scott is the founder of a new group called the 66 Alliance. Scott says the new changes will hurt commuters who have used these lanes for years.
“That means that VDOT plans to repeal the commuting rules under which tens of thousands of Northern Virginians have made major life decisions — where to live, where to work, where to send their kids to school, and what vehicles to drive — without so much as a public hearing, notice or comment period,” Scott said in a press release.
The changes appear to be already decided, Scott claimed, based on conversations he had with VDOT officials. He said that his I-66 commute saves him about 30 minutes of travel times each way.
“So the choice would be [tolls] or 10 days of your life every year,” Scott said.