The Republican Party of Virginia is wasting no time hammering Governor McAuliffe and Governor-elect Northam for the incredulous $40 fees for “Lexus Lanes” along I-66 in Day Two of the now universally despised Terry Tolls.
RPV’s chairman John Whitbeck blasts the governor for the oddly timed opening of the new HOT lanes:
A less cynical person might think it’s a coincidence that these tolls took effect in Northern Virginia after voters had gone to the polls. Having worked around Terry McAuliffe and his team for four years now – and with $40 tolls now a reality – I don’t think I’ve been cynical enough. Governor McAuliffe owes Republicans an apology for his rhetoric in 2015, and Governor-elect Northam needs to immediately tell Northern Virginia how he intends to clean up McAuliffe’s mess.
Of course, when House and Senate Republicans blasted McAuliffe back in 2015 over the potential for $17.00 “Lexus Lane” fees… well, you can listen to his biting response here:
Rep. Barbara Comstock is castigating Virginia Department of Transportation Secretary Aubrey Lane for the wild disparity between what was claimed by McAuliffe and Northam as to the true fees on the “Lexus Lanes” versus what Republicans claimed would be the actual cost… versus what commuters are actively being forced to pay in order to avoid the I-66 parking lot.
Meanwhile, Jim Bacon over at Bacon’s Rebellion sheds nary a tear for those complaining about the sky high rates along I-66, instructing them to “join a friggin’ carpool” and other helpful advice:
I have to say, a $34 toll for a 10-mile trip is extravagantly high. I would never pay it. Here’s a tip to the whiners: Don’t have to pay it either! Just drive on I-66 like you always have! There are no fewer lanes than there were before. Was traffic on I-66 this morning any worse than it was last week? No? Then get over it!
As long as you’re not the person paying them, high toll fares are good news. When the state covers its cost of setting up the HOT lane infrastructure, it will devote surplus revenue to multimodal improvements — buses, Metrorail, bicycle, pedestrian facilities — that take commuters off I-66 and make the highway a little less congested for everyone else.
Of course, there are two rejoinders to this. First and foremost, vehicular commuters aren’t exactly paying their own way — they are subsidizing the cost of mass transit, as Bacon helpfully admonishes the reader. Which perhaps, might be a tad bit galling to the commuter paying $40.00 for a one-way ride into Washington (or to those parked on the plebeian lanes to the right).
That drives the second point — this isn’t a “free market” solution to roads at all. Rather, it is the Obamacare of roads, where commuters are overtaxed to provide for the gaps in a failing and mismanaged transportation system.
The spin from Democrats that somehow commuters are paying full freight is ridiculous on its face. These commuters are not only paying their own way, but they are subsidizing a host of mass transit — bike lanes, pedestrian facilities, buses, light rail, VRE — all of which in a truly free market, the consumer would pay their own freight without loading the true cost on the backs of highway commuters.
…which isn’t happening at all.
Commuters are merely being punished for being commuters in dirty automobiles, while “green” solutions are being subsidized — hardly a free market, but it sure sounds like some old fashioned avuncular state nudging — all of which comes just three weeks after the Democrats carried the gubernatorial race.