No HOT Lanes Means No Hotel Tax

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    WASHINTON - NOVEMBER 24: Heavy traffic congestion is seen on Interstate 395 November 24, 2004 in Washington, DC. The day before Thanksgiving is traditionally the busiest travel day in the United States. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

    Arlington's lawsuit over HOT lanes might have cost the the city double.

    The municipality filed a lawsuit in court in  to block the construction of HOT lanes along I-95 and Route 395.  High Occupancy Toll lanes would allow drivers to pay a toll in order to travel in a special lane, ostensibly to beat traffic in the free lanes.

    Virginia Del. Tim Hugo of Fairfax County supports HOT lanes in the region.  He says if Arlington has enough money for lawsuits to block their construction, the jurisdiction doesn’t need to levy more taxes.

    Hugo is the chairman of the finance subcommittee in Virginia's General Assembly.  This week he blocked a bill that would extend Arlington’s 0.25 percent hotel surcharge tax for another three years.  The tax normally nets the county $800,000 to $1 million, reported ARLnow.com.

    Hugo says Arlington’s lawsuit that aims to block HOT lanes is abusive and intimidating to present and past transportation officials because the suit was filed against Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez and former Virginia Transportation Secretary Peirce Homer in their personal capacity, not their professional capacity.

    If HOT lanes are built on the highways, they would replace HOV lanes that run between Dumfries and S. Eads Street in Arlington, converting them to toll lanes.

    Drivers would pay a per-mile toll to use the lanes. Those who ride in vehicles of three or more passengers would still be able to use the lanes for free.

    A recent survey by the Texas Transport Institute found that congestion around the Washington metropolitan area was the worst in the nation.