Free Ride May Be Over on Dulles Access Road

Tuesday, May 10, 2011  |  Updated 3:20 PM EDT
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Free Ride May Be Over on Dulles Access Road

The scene on Dulles Toll Road Monday, when a commuter bus collided with a construction vehicle.

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Running alongside the Dulles Toll Road, the Access Road gives drivers a dedicated roadway to reach the airport at Dulles, without having to pay a toll.

That free ride may be coming to an end.

WTOP reported:

"As part of the plan to finance the Dulles Rail Project, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is being advised to consider putting a toll on the road which is now free."

The Access Road has been around since 1961.  By law, only drivers heading to the airport for flights or to conduct business are allowed on the Access Road.  In order to dodge traffic on the Toll Road, or to avoid having to pay, some drivers "backtrack," by making use of the toll road and then cutting through the airport.

According to a WTOP report, the Dulles Rail Project, the plan to extend a rail link to the airport, is now projected to cost $1 billion more than originally anticipated.  Financial advisors to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority have recommended a rate hike on the toll road, and also to consider new tolls for the Access Road.

"What we are suggesting is that the Authority go ahead and start examining these things, so that they can make an informed decision about what is the best way to manage the road," Bryan Grote, one of the advisors, said to WTOP.

Congestion has plagued the Dulles Toll Road since its opening in 1984.  On Monday, a commuter bus crash on the Access Road brought both roadways to a standstill. 

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