What I-66 toll money could pay for next (if traffic returns) in Northern Va.

Interstate 66
Heavy traffic travels westbound on Interstate 66 in Fairfax County, Virginia, between the Capital Beltway and Nutley Street in this Aug. 24, 2016 file photo. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

Two new Metro entrances, expanded bus service and even a bus-only lane in Rosslyn are among Northern Virginia projects that could be funded by Interstate 66 tolls, if drivers eventually hit the roads again.

New rankings of applications from local and regional agencies that requested $32.9 million in I-66 toll revenue outline the projects likely to get funded and those that would miss out, if the expected $25 million is available in the coming two-year cycle.

“Please note that, at the time of this publication, it is unknown whether the COVID-19 public health emergency will have an impact on the availability of toll revenue funding available to this program,” Northern Virginia Transportation Commission documents said.

Toll prices for solo drivers and revenue on I-66 inside the Capital Beltway are down significantly as many people stay home, just like usage has dropped dramatically in the 95, 395 and 495 Express Lanes.

VRE ridership was down almost 94% by March 23. Metrorail ridership is down around 95%, and Metrobus ridership is down about 75%.

Still, the submitted projects that would make the cut for I-66 toll funding based on the number of people they would move, travel time savings, cost effectiveness, local priorities and inter-jurisdictional connections are:

  • A west entrance to Ballston Metro ($10 million requested)
  • A north entrance to the McLean Metro ($1 million requested)
  • Renew PRTC OmniRide bus service from Gainesville to Pentagon/Navy Yard ($461,100)
  • Restore rush hour Route 28X Metrobus Tysons Corner-Mark Center ($3.3 million)
  • Renew Metro Connection Route 88X Loudoun County Dulles South extension ($649,819)
  • Renew PRTC OmniRide service from Haymarket to Rosslyn ($137,100)
  • New PRTC OmniRide service from Gainesville to NoMa ($3.89 million)
  • Renew Loudoun County Purcellville Metro Connection bus service ($1.4 million)
  • PRTC OmniRide transportation demand management promotion and offer of I-66 corridor vanpool parking benefit ($85,000).

Those projects total about $21 million in requested funding.

Projects on the edge that could be funded are:

  • Fairfax County new bus service from Reston South to Crystal City ($5.1 million)
  • City of Fairfax Bikeshare implementation ($460,000)
  • Arlington County Lee Highway HOV and bus-only lane in Rosslyn ($710,000)

The two projects that were scored under the cost-benefit analysis that appear to fall short of funding are:

  • Town of Vienna Park and Ride at Patrick Henry Library ($5.5 million)
  • Fairfax Connector fare discounts for service from Reston North to Crystal City ($154,500)

The scoring does not include additional costs for administering the program, and the state is also planning to put other toll money in the future toward construction of the Long Bridge project that will help expand VRE, Amtrak and freight rail service, and possibly toward future Metro improvements in Rosslyn.

Public comment on this round of projects’ funding is scheduled online and in virtual town hall meetings from April 6 to May 21.

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