Va. residents chime in on I-66 HOT lanes proposal

- Are you ready for HOT lane tolls on Interstate 66? It could happen and could cost you $7 to $9 during peak rush. On Wednesday night, commuters weighed in on the plan.

This proposal from the Virginia Department of Transportation would take effect in 2017 if approved. It would create ten miles of HOT lanes on I-66 inside the Beltway.

But it’s different than Express Lanes systems. Existing lanes on I-66 would become HOT lanes in both directions during peak periods. If you don't meet the carpool requirement, you can drive in these lanes by paying the toll.

The toll varies with traffic flow and gets more expensive as travel demand increases.

But some commuters are worried these toll lanes will push some drivers into neighborhoods.

“There are going to be people who cannot pay this,” said one resident at the public meeting. “People who work for businesses, contractors -- their bosses aren't going to give them an E-ZPass and pay for it. They are going to be forced on the side roads and our side roads can't even handle the traffic they have on it now.”

Another change under the plan will be the free carpool lane that would eventually require three people per car.

This plan could generate about $10 million a year and the money would be earmarked for improvements inside the Beltway.

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