State officials in Richmond announced a bipartisan agreement yesterday to reduce traffic congestion on Interstate 66 in Northern Virginia. The Transform 66 project includes widening I-66 eastbound on a four-mile stretch from the Dulles Connector Road to Ballston, improving public transit and adding options for single drivers. Under the project I-66 inside the Beltway will be converted to express lanes during rush hours, I-66 eastbound from the Dulles Connector Road will be widened, and transit service will be improved throughout the corridor, solo drivers will be able to ride in carpool lanes in exchange for paying a variable toll based on the distance they travel. The average toll is expected to be $6 a trip by 2020. Lanes will be free to vehicles with three or more people (carpoolers, vanpools and buses) during rush hours and to motorcycles per adopted regional policy. All others will pay a variable toll. Lanes will remain free to all traffic during off-peak periods. There will be no tolling in the reverse commute.
The announcement said the plan eventually would move more than 40,000 additional people through the I-66 corridor a day and provide reliable travel speeds of at least 45 mph during rush hours in the peak direction.