The 66 Alliance is a group of people who came together in 2015 and 2016 to oppose parts of VDOT’s plans to convert Interstate 66 into High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes from Haymarket to the Roosevelt Bridge.
Since our inception, the 66 Alliance’s 4 goals have been:
- Retain HOV-2 on I-66 (VDOT wants to go to HOV-3);
- Prohibit tolling of “reverse” commuters on 66 inside the Beltway;
- Expand capacity on 66 inside and outside the Beltway; and,
- Retain the Clean Fuel Vehicle (hybrid) program.
By March 2016, the Alliance accomplished the first three goals, either through administrative concessions by VDOT or through legislation during the 2016 Virginia General Assembly. For a brand new grassroots commuter advocacy group, winning 3 out of 4 — when VDOT and the powerful multi-national corporations seeking to impose tolls on 66 are against us — is very impressive, and all 66 Alliance members and supporters should congratulate themselves.
However, our fight is not over, and I encourage all current Alliance members and other concerned citizens and commuters to join in our 2016/2017 to accomplish the following goals:
- Make HOV-2 on 66 permanent, not just preserved until 2020;
- Change the decision not to toll reverse commuters from an administrative decision by VDOT (which can be reversed without notice) into a law passed by the General Assembly; and,
- Preserve, or perhaps “renew,” the Clean Fuel Vehicle program, which currently will sunset on January 1, 2017, and expand it to other interstates within Virginia.
For better or worse, the Alliance’s 2016 goals got caught up in the broader debate in the General Assembly over tolling on Virginia’s interstates. The Alliance has not taken a position as pro- or anti-tolling. The Alliance has, however, insisted that any toll or HOT lanes “grandfather” HOV-2 and the CFV program.
Unlike 2015/2016, VDOT is no longer our target. VDOT is moving forward with implementing HOT lanes on 66 — that fight is over.
VDOT will oppose the Alliance’s goals in the General Assembly in 2017, as will the corporate tolling lobby and their allies in the Northern Virginia business community, because the achievement of each of the Alliance’s goals means less tax revenue to the state and the for-profit tolling corporations. The Alliance’s 2017 targets are Governor McAuliffe, who can extend the CFV program on 66, and the legislators in the 2017 Virginia General Assembly, who can pass legislation to achieve the 3 goals outlined above. Therefore, for the rest of 2016 and early 2017, the 66 Alliance will focus on putting pressure on Governor McAuliffe and recruiting these state legislators to our cause with an eye towards passing legislation in the 2017 General Assembly.
If you are already a member of the 66 Alliance, please stay tuned for regular newsletter updates on ways your can help achieve these goals. If you are not a member of the Alliance and share our goals, please click here to join the 66 Alliance!