WASHINGTON - A plan to put tolls on I-66 has been met with controversy ever since it was announced. Now, a Virginia state lawmaker is asking Virginia’s transportation secretary to cancel a two-day meeting that started Tuesday to approve the plan.
The reason? It is because this Virginia Commonwealth Transportation Board meeting is being held 200 miles away in Virginia Beach -- about 3 1/2 hours from I-66.
“It's about not being accountable to the public,” said Virginia Del. Bob Marshall.
He is fighting the I-66 toll plan and said it is not fair that a meeting about tolling a major northern Virginia road isn’t being held within reach of the northern Virginia drivers it would impact.
"People are paying more at the Dulles Toll Road, they are paying more in Loudoun on the Greenway, and they want to do this? I'm sorry. This is wrong. Citizens are not ATM machines,” said Marshall. "It's like a hit and run. They hit us here and they run out of town to do it.”
In a blunt letter to Virginia transportation secretary Aubrey Layne, Marshall charged the meeting location makes it almost impossible for toll opponents to be heard.
If that was the plan, it did not work with everyone. In fact, one man got in his car and drove the 3 1/2 hours down to Virginia Beach to go to the meeting.
"I guess I got to go where the board is meeting,” said Greg Scott of 66 Alliance, a group that is against the tolls.
He said it wasn't easy to get to Virginia Beach, but he was not going to be silenced.
"A lot more people need to pay attention to it,” Scott said. “This is a lot of money that is potentially coming out of the pockets of commuters. People just like me trying to get to their jobs.”
The Commonwealth Transporation Board voted to approve preliminary approval of the I-66 plan. A final approval vote will come in December.