Two Virginia men are angry over toll hikes on the Dulles Toll Road. Really angry. In fact, they’re so angry, they’re demanding they get their money back.
John Corr and John Grigsby have filed a federal class action lawsuit, seeking a refund of $130 million for Virginia drivers. They argue that the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority had no power to set toll rates.
Corr and Grigsby claim the new toll rates amount to an illegal tax because the MWAA isn’t a government body. Virginia’s General Assembly never authorized the airports authority to set the toll rates because its board is appointed by Washington’s mayor, the president of the United States, and the governors of Maryland and Virginia.
But the blog BeyondDC provides another perspective on tolls and MWAA:
This is a good learning opportunity for those who think public/private partnerships equate to free money. When you turn over public infrastructure to private groups, you lose your authority to dictate policy, and the new private owners may not have the same priorities as the previous public ones. Virginia’s leaders should have realized when they turned the roll road over to the MWAA that MWAA would henceforth make policy for the road with their own interests in mind.
Apparently the idea that there’s no such thing as a free lunch is a shocking revelation.
The $130 million the men are seeking includes the money raised through the tolls to help pay for Metro’s expansion to Dulles International Airport.