HOT Lanes Deal Announced for I-95 in Northern Va.

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(Washington, DC  WAMU) Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has announced a $940 million deal with private contractor Fluor-Transurban for the construction of High Occupancy Toll lanes on Interstate 95.

The in-principle agreement was negotiated between Fluor-Transurban, VDOT Commissioner Greg Whirley, and Virginia’s new Office of Transportation Public-Private Partnerships (OTP3). The project is being financed and constructed under Virginia’s Public-Private Transportation Act with 90 percent of the cost financed by Fluor-Transurban.  The final ten percent will be financed by Virginia, and Fluor-Transurban expects to recoup its investment by collecting the tolls.

The project will expand the existing HOV lanes on I-95 to create nearly 30 miles of HOV/HOT on I-95 in Northern Virginia from Fairfax County to Stafford County. Carpoolers will be able to use the lanes for free, while solo riders will be able to use the the lanes if they pay the tolls. Construction on HOT lanes for the Capital Beltway, also known as I-495, is already underway.

The Governor's office also says the state will invest $200 million in expanded bus service in four Northern Virginia counties to help maximize the benefits of the new HOT lanes network.

Governor McDonnell says the project will bring "congestion relief and new travel choices to Northern Virginia, supporting nearly 8,000 jobs during the construction period and stimulating $2 billion in economic activity."

The system is also expected to use a dynamic tolling system, with rates changing based on demand.