Public-private proposals to build I-95 HOT lanes in northern Virginia advance

News VDOT January 20, 2005
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The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) today voted to move two private-sector proposals that would widen the I-95 corridor in northern Virginia and Fredericksburg to the next stage of review under the Public-Private Transportation Act (PPTA). The PPTA allows the private sector to partner with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to finance and build road projects quicker and with less public money.

The two proposals are from the Clark Construction Group (including Shirley Contracting company and Koch Performance Roads) and Fluor Virginia Inc. The Clark Construction Group proposes a $407 million project to improve 36 miles of I-95 from the Springfield Interchange in Fairfax County to Rte. 17 in Stafford County. Fluor Virginia Inc. proposes a $1 billion project to improve 54 miles of I-95 from the 14th Street Bridge in Arlington County to south of the Rte. 17 Bypass in Massaponax.

The key features of both proposals are widening the existing two high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes on I-95 in northern Virginia to three high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes and extending the HOT lanes to Stafford County. Both proposals would also connect the HOT lanes to the beltway, known as Phase 8 of the Springfield Interchange.

The projects would be financed primarily through tolls. According to the proposals, a variable toll rate would apply to vehicles carrying fewer than three people each on the HOT lanes.

"Both proposals merit further review because the proposers meet the initial qualifications to finance and make much needed improvements to I-95," said VDOT Commissioner Philip Shucet. "While public-private partnerships provide funding options that would otherwise not be available for certain projects, no improvements can be made to I-95 until federal and state environmental reviews take place. That involves a great deal of public participation."

The next step in the PPTA review process begins with the submission of the detailed proposals by both proposers. The detailed proposals will be reviewed by an advisory panel consisting of transportation experts and policy makers. The advisory panel process is open to the public and will include one or more opportunities for public comments. The earliest the VDOT commissioner would begin negotiations for a comprehensive agreement with one or both proposers is early 2006.

The proposals are posted at http://www.virginiadot.org/business/ppta-I-95HotLanes.asp

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