If the plans of two local development companies come true, the Washington DC – Virginia metropolitan area may end up boasting the world's most expensive private toll road system.
Those who travel during rush-hour between the Prince William County and Pentagon may end up paying a whopping $41.46 (yes, Forty One dollars and Forty Six cents) for 36 miles of round-trip commuting.
That comes to as much as $1.60 a mile for some segments of the I-95 and I-395 for those drivers and passengers who are not car-pooling.
Here are the proposed peak-hour toll fees for the Southbound traffic from Pentagon-Arlington towards Dumfries, Virginia:
$3.71 from Pentagon to Shirlington Road; $5.83 from Shirlington Road to I-495; another $6.46 from I-495 to Fairfax County Parkway; $6.28 from Fairfax Co. Pkwy to Prince Williams Parkway; adding up to a total of $22.28 from Pentagon to Prince Williams County.
The Northbound return trip may end up costing another $19.18 for those commuters in a rush.
Currently, America's most expensive toll-road is the SR-91 in California which costs $9.25 for a 10 mile segment during the rush hours.
Yes it's true that I-95 and I-395 are buckling under the weight of the increased traffic of the region and there are a lot of affluent commuters who are able to shoulder massive tolls like these.
But what about those who cannot afford $200 of toll fees a week!? Wouldn't such an exorbitant daily expense item deepen the existing divide between the haves and the have-nots in the region?
And when those who cannot afford such outrageous fees pick up their bags and migrate to more affordable neighboring states like West Virginia and North Carolina, are they going to be an asset or new liabilities in their new home states? Will they be able to find new jobs where they go or just increase the existing pressures on the local workforce and infrastructure (hospitals, schools, etc. )?
Such are the unknown dynamics that will be unleashed by the proposed “monster toll” project.
Ugur Akinci, Ph. D. is a writer with 20 years of experience. He is available for a wide variety of freelance assignments. Visit his web site http://www.writer111.com for more information on his services.