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Dulles Greenway owner requests 15-cent toll hike

Thursday - 1/2/2014, 2:58pm  ET

The private owner of the Dulles Greenway has submitted an application to hike tolls on the Loudoun County highway by 15 cents in each direction.

The request was filed Monday with the State Corporation Commission, less than 24 hours before I wrote this article about the soaring assessed value of the 14-mile Greenway, and how that may affect tolls. (Little did I know at the time...)

Greenway owner Toll Road Investors Partnership II LP, or TRIP II, is seeking a 2.8 percent toll hike — the maximum allowed by state law — in addition to a three-cent additional charge to collect a portion of the roughly 24 percent increase in local property taxes it paid to Loudoun and the town of Leesburg in 2013.

TRIP II is requesting that the new toll take effect on Feb. 15.

If approved by the SCC, the base toll for a two-axle vehicle would increase 15 cents to $4.25 (for driving the length of the highway), or $5.10 during rush hours, when the vast majority of people use the road. The rush hour price would be $6.10 for those drivers exiting onto the Dulles Toll Road.

The SCC is currently investigating Greenway tolls, which Loudoun, state and federal officials have described as "highway robbery." That investigation, sought by Del. David Ramadan, R-Loudoun, argues that Greenway users are paying much more than they benefit, that the existing tolls discourage use of the road and that TRIP II is exceeding the profits allowed.

Ramadan said Thursday the increase request is "outrageous" and "absurd," and he hopes that the SCC investigation will result in a toll decline, not the other way around.

"We believe they are in violation of the current law on multiple levels," Ramadan said.

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