Virginia officials have given up on plans to build a six-mile stretch of high-occupancy toll lanes inside the Capital Beltway on Interstate 395.
"The state is now doing, for this new project, what Arlington asked it to do for the I-95/395 project," said Arlington County Board Chairman Christopher Zimmerman. "The county's goals have always been to protect transit and high-occupancy vehicle travel in the corridor and to preserve Arlington neighborhoods."
Arlington County officials had sued in federal court to stop the project, which would allow solo drivers to pay to use lanes currently reserved for carpoolers. Arlington County refused to drop the suit despite pressure from legislators downstate, WAMU 88.5 reported.
At a press conference Thursday, Virginia Transportation Secretary Sean Connaughton said the delays caused by the lawsuit could no longer be tolerated. The state now plans to build the toll lanes on a 29-mile stretch from Garrisonville on Interstate 95 in Stafford County to Edsall Road in Fairfax County on the southernmost part of I-395.
But it will not build the lanes on the six-mile stretch through Arlington County and the city of Alexandria that carries drivers into the nation's capital.
"Because of Arlington’s frivolous lawsuit, VDOT has been forced to pull the plug on a major project that would have provided commuters with more transit options, more carpooling/slugging options and an efficient toll road option for commuters to use when they absolutely have to be somewhere on time," said Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity. "As a regular user of the I-395 HOV lanes during my daily commute to Rosslyn, I know firsthand the need for improvements to this corridor."