The following stories are brought to you by the fine folks on the News4 assignment desk.
VA OFFICIALS MAKE THE CASE FOR CHARGING ON INTERSTATES
Building High Occupancy Toll lanes on Interstate 95 has everything to do with money, or rather the state's lack of it.
Virginia's transportation secretary, Sean T. Connaughton, says there is a major need to convert the HOV lanes on I-95 and 395 to toll lanes, because less gas tax revenue for new road construction is flowing into state coffers as cars become more fuel efficient and too many single drivers use the HOV lanes during weekday rush hours.
"We are going to get those people, those scofflaws who are on [the HOV lanes] right now who aren't paying… we all know right now because of studies that we've done that 30 percent of all vehicles on the HOV lanes right now are single occupancy vehicles. We're going to make those people pay," said Connaughton. (Inside NoVA)
WHISKEY TRUCK STUCK BENEATH BRIDGE
A truck loaded with whiskey became wedged under a CSX railroad bridge just south of New Market on Thursday, leaking a steady drip of the amber intoxicant onto the Frederick County pavement as crews sought to wrestle it loose.
"We've had a number of problems with tractor trailers getting stuck going under that bridge," said Sgt. Rob Embly of the Maryland State Police. "The road is clearly marked as 'no trucks' but they just don't pay attention to it."
Embly said CSX crews were leading the effort to dislodge the truck. (Washington Post)
OBAMA HALTS DRILLING OFF VIRGINIA
President Barack Obama Thursday canceled plans for oil drilling off the coast of Virginia and extended a moratorium on new deepwater drilling permits.
In addition to canceling the proposed lease sale off the coast of Virginia, the President ordered the suspension of planned exploration off the coast of Alaska. The existing moratorium on deepwater drilling permits will also be extended for another six months. (Washington Business Journal)
CAPITOL HILL PARKING PROBLEMS
At a recent dinner party, there was a lively conversation about the new multi-space parking meters that don’t actually seem to work a lot of the time. This, of course, devolved into complaints about the $20 in quarters you have to carry around in order to park for any length of time (7 minutes, really??). We were all bonding over mutual love of the artichoke appetizer and our mutual disdain for parking issues. Then I chimed in with, “well, at least the city has extended 2 hour parking to 9 or midnight in some places to keep the Virginians and Marylanders from taking up all our spaces.” Oops – that’s when I learned one of the other guests lived in Shirlington (the second most wanna-be-in-DC neighborhood in NoVa, behind Clarendon, of course). Well, I hope he at least took the metro. (The Hill is Home)