STERLING, Va. – There have been complaints, petitions and threats of legislation. But for the first time ever, a toll hike request for the privately owned, 14-mile Dulles Greenway will be legally challenged before the Virginia State Corporation Commission.
Loudoun County Delegate David Ramadan, a Republican, says he has submitted more than 1,200 pages of documents for the SCC hearing scheduled for Nov. 12 in Richmond. He is challenging the request to raise the tolls by the Australian company that owns the Greenway.
“This is nothing but highway robbery,” Ramadan says.
He says the toll should be based on the distance traveled. Right now, motorists would be charged $4.90 whether they go the entire 14 miles or get off at the first exit less than a mile after paying the toll.
In the past, Toll Road Investors Partnership II, the owners of the Greenway, have claimed the toll hike is needed to maintain the highway and still earn a profit.
“This is a regulated utility,” says Ramadan. “We allow for a certain percentage of profit, the law does, but it doesn’t guarantee a profit,” he says.
WTOP attempted to reach a spokesman for the Greenway for this story, but phone calls were not returned.
The Greenway runs from Leesburg to Dulles International Airport and connects to the Dulles Toll Road, which is owned by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.
Ramadan, who is paying for part of the legal challenge himself, says his constituents shouldn’t have to choose between $10 in tolls for a round-trip or spending more than an hour in traffic jams on crowded Route 7 and losing time with their families.
State Sen. Bill Stanley, a Republican, and former federal administrative law judge Ed Silverstein will represent Ramadan and his constituents in the legal proceedings before the commission.
Ramadan says their case will be based on state law, which allows the SCC to reduce tolls if it can be proven that drivers are avoiding the Greenway because of the cost.
More than 5,800 citizens have signed a petition stating that they avoid the Greenway because of the costs.