- The Washington Times - Monday, April 12, 2010

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The real trouble is that Virginia is facing a $4.6 billion transportation revenue shortfall (“The trouble with tolls,” Opinion, March 30). If not addressed, road congestion will threaten the long-term economic vitality of our region.

Toll roads, like all businesses, are affected by tough economic times. However, a failed toll road in California is not a reason to take an important transportation funding option off the table.

Tolling is not the only solution to transportation, but when coupled with other mechanisms, it is a very important part of the solution necessary to meet our transportation needs. Tolls on the Dulles Toll Road are funding Dulles Metrorail, which is supporting the transformation of Tysons Corner. That, in turn, will create thousands of new jobs and generate millions in new tax revenue. Tolls on the Pocahontas Parkway in Richmond are funding a long-planned connection to Richmond International Airport. George Mason University estimates that construction of the Capital Beltway High Occupancy Toll (HOT) Lanes Project is creating 12,000 jobs and pumping $2.7 billion into Virginia’s economy. HOT Lanes on Interstate 95/Interstate 395 are expected to boost our economy at a similar rate.

Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, like his predecessors, should be commended for supporting innovative approaches, including tolling, that enhance mobility and protect our economic competitiveness.

STU MENDELSOHN

Chairman, Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce

Vienna, Va.

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