WHEREAS, Interstate 66 is among the most congested highways in Northern Virginia and in the United States; and
WHEREAS, analysis by the Virginia Department of Transportation pursuant to § 33.2-257 found that approximately 900,000 hours of time is wasted each business day by Northern Virginians due to transportation delays in the region; and
WHEREAS, these delays negatively impact the economy of Northern Virginia and the Commonwealth as a whole, including reducing state and local tax revenues in comparison to what might be expected from a more robust economy; and
WHEREAS, Interstate 66 is in close proximity to Washington, D.C., and key national security and homeland security assets important to the entire United States; and
WHEREAS, the current configuration of Interstate 66 inside the Beltway does not provide for the necessary mobility of citizens and emergency responders in the event of a terrorist attack or other homeland security emergency in the national capital area, thus endangering the lives of the people of Northern Virginia as well as the national security and homeland security assets important to the entire United States; and
WHEREAS, the plans to toll Interstate 66 inside the Beltway offered by the Governor and approved by the Commonwealth Transportation Board would allow wealthy, single-occupant motorists who can afford the planned toll to use the road during peak periods, but do little to reduce congestion at other times of the day or on weekends, and would permit the bottleneck eastbound on Interstate 66 at the Beltway to persist; and
WHEREAS, House Bill 2313 (2013) increased taxes statewide and additionally in Northern Virginia to fund transportation, of which approximately $200 million annually is provided to the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority and is available to fund the same multi-modal projects on Interstate 66 inside the Beltway that the tolling plan would fund; and
WHEREAS, the plans to toll Interstate 66 inside the Beltway do nothing to reduce congestion in Northern Virginia or improve mobility in the event of a terrorist attack or other homeland security emergency in the national capital area that cannot already be accomplished with existing tax revenue; and
WHEREAS, proceeds from the planned toll on Interstate 66 inside the Beltway are designated to be spent on projects recommended by the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission rather than the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, even though there is significant overlapping representation between the two organizations by local jurisdictions, including the specific elected officials who attend monthly meetings of each organization; and
WHEREAS, placing responsibility for spending decisions with the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission rather than the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority creates a redundant and unnecessary transportation funding mechanism; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, That the Secretary of Transportation be requested to study alternatives to add vehicle capacity to Interstate 66 inside the Capital Beltway. Such alternatives shall include at least three scenarios to add one, two, and three new lanes and multi-modal capacity to Interstate 66 in each direction between the Capital Beltway and Washington, D.C., and each scenario shall be evaluated using criteria established by § 33.2-257 of the Code of Virginia to determine their benefits related to reducing congestion and improving mobility in the event of a homeland security emergency in the national capital area.
In conducting his study, the Secretary of Transportation shall also consider (i) combining U.S. Route 29 and Interstate 66 into a single, limited access facility for a portion of Interstate 66 in Arlington; (ii) creating above and below grade (double-deck) roadway for portions of the existing Interstate 66 corridor inside the Beltway; (iii) providing direct access to the West Falls Church Metro Station from Interstate 66; (iv) providing for multi-modal access consistent with separate plans for Interstate 66 outside the Capital Beltway; (v) improving the chronically congested intersection of the Dulles Airport Access Road and Interstate 66 eastbound; (vi) determining what acquisition of property not now controlled by the Department of Transportation would be needed to accomplish each scenario, and the impact on commercial, residential, and publicly owned property and related activities in affected localities; and (vii) determining the income that could be generated by offering air rights for parts of the corridor to offset costs of the project or to compensate localities for the effects of the project. The Secretary shall consult with the appropriate federal and local government agencies related to maximizing congestion reduction and mobility in the event of a terrorist attack or other homeland security emergency in the national capital area.
All agencies of the Commonwealth shall provide assistance to the Secretary of Transportation for this study, upon request.
The Secretary of Transportation shall complete his findings by November 30, 2016, and shall submit to the Governor and the General Assembly an executive summary and a report of his findings and recommendations for publication as a House or Senate document. The executive summary and report shall be submitted as provided in the procedures of the Division of Legislative Automated Systems for the processing of legislative documents and reports no later than the first day of the 2017 Regular Session of the General Assembly and shall be posted on the General Assembly's website.