Virginia officials consider congestion tolls on Hampton Roads bridge-tunnels

April 23, 2013

Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization (HRTPO) officials in Virginia are putting out the idea of congestion tolls on the I-64 Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel (HRBT) and the I-664 Monitor Merrimack Bridge Tunnel (MMBT) to manage traffic. Chairman of the HRTPO Molly Ward and chief executive Dwight Farmer included the idea in a presentation to the state transportation board last week.
Farmer said it’s not a formal proposal, just a concept at this point, according to a Toll Road News report.

Under the plan, no congestion would mean no toll was levied. But using dynamic pricing travel on the facilities would be priced based on traffic densities that began to approach levels threatening a breakdown in traffic flow. And as congestion eased the toll would drop away to zero again.

The idea would be not to raise revenue so much as to maintain throughput by diverting a sufficient number of drivers to less congested highways.

Inrix data shows that congestion is worse on the 64HRBT from the peninsula into Norfolk and the eastside than on the 664MMBT so congestion tolls would probably run higher there to maintain traffic flow.

Molly Ward, Mayor of Hampton City and current chair of the metro area planning agency, told Toll Road News congestion tolling is a concept that deserves consideration.

“We do not know how the board will receive the concept nor whether they will take formal action at a subsequent meeting to pursue this option. We view this as an interim option to building a multi-billion dollar bridge-tunnel project that we think might easily take 10 years or more to complete,” Ward said.

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Deborah Whistler

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