WTOP has an article describing the I-66 funding options and impacts an I-66 transformation can have on other roads in Northern Virginia.
There are currently two funding options under consideration by the Virginia Department of (Road) Transportation (VDOT) and the Virginia Office of Public-Private Partnerships (VOPPP), a public option and a public-private partnership (P3). While many feel that a private company (in the P3 option) would hypothetically fund most of the project, the experiences with other P3 projects in Virginia tell another story. From the article:
The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, a regional body that uses tax money to pay for congestion relief projects, will likely be asked to pitch in to help cover the cost of the proposed changes along the I-66 corridor.
“The question of how funding for I-66 impacts other projects is really something that the NVTA will have to follow very closely,” says NVTA Chairman Martin Nohe, of Prince William County.
The Commonwealth Transportation Board is debating two options to fund the I-66 project: public or private financing.
Under the public option, the state and the NVTA would finance the mega-project but would also get to keep the revenues from the tolls collected on the lanes.
Under the private option, a third-party company would assume most of the financial risk upfront, but it would get to keep the toll revenue, not the state.
Both the 495 and 95 express lanes were built under the private option via a partnership with Transurban.
“The expectation is that the NVTA would be a partner under either scenario. Even with the private funding model, there is going to be a need for some tax dollars to go toward this project. But it seems likely under the private option, the expectations and request from VDOT to the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority would be lower,” says Nohe.
I-66 widening could delay aid to other congested commuter routes
If they choose an “open” design concept between Nutley and I-495 with no changes to the I-495/I-66 Interchange they can save $600 Million and eliminate the public contribution.
We agree completely, however VDOT feels an open section would cause a loss of toll revenue and drivers would have too much trouble navigating the section between Nutley Street and I-495 without widening and building Express Lanes into where communities exist today. They have dismissed the open section in several meetings with very little visible analysis. Look for more information coming on the Do No Harm open section and VDOT’s dismissal soon on this website.