WASHINGTON — Tolls for solo drivers on the Thursday-morning commute on Interstate 66 into D.C. set a new record Thursday.
Tolls topped out at $44 at 8:24 a.m. for the entire nine-mile stretch from the Beltway into Rosslyn, lasting for six minutes, according to the I-66 toll calculator.
The previous record was $40, set on Tuesday, Dec. 5, the second day of the dynamic tolling.
Virginia Department of Transportation spokesman Marshall Herman told WTOP that the spike in the toll was the result of several things, including heavy regular traffic, perhaps exacerbated by a snarl at the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge and an incident on Interstate 395.
Morning rush-hour tolls for solo drivers are now in effect from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. eastbound, and 3 to 7 p.m. westbound.
Drivers can avoid paying the tolls by having at least one other person in their car and having an E-ZPass Flex switched into HOV mode.
The sometimes-high tolls have provoked area leaders to demand actions ranging from a cap on the maximum toll that can be charged to a repeal of the expansion of the hours during which the tolls for solo drivers are charged.
Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne and Gov. Terry McAuliffe have repeatedly pointed out that the point of the tolling is to give solo drivers the option to drive on I-66 at rush hour — they weren’t supposed to be able to do that before, though officials said many did anyway — and to encourage commuters to carpool, use public transit or drive other roads into the District.
Average rush-hour speeds since the tolling went into effect have been considerably higher than the same periods a year ago, VDOT has said.
“In terms of moving traffic, it looks like it’s doing its job,” Layne told WTOP last week.
“If you don’t want to pay it, it’s pretty simple: Put someone else in your car.”