Frequently Asked Questions

Background and Benefits:

What is the Transform 66 Inside the Beltway project?

The project involves converting I-66 Inside the Beltway to dynamically-priced toll lanes in the peak direction during morning (eastbound) and afternoon (westbound) rush hours, along with implementing a series of multimodal improvements that benefit the I-66 Corridor and toll payers. The project also includes the widening of I-66 eastbound from the Dulles Connector Road to Ballston.

What are the project limits?

The project corridor is located between I-495 (the Capital Beltway) and U.S. Route 29 in Rosslyn. The area also includes parallel routes, such as U.S. Route 29 and U.S. Route 50.

How will the project benefit travelers?

The project will:

  • Move more people - up to 40,000 more people per day by 2040 - and enhance connectivity for the I-66 Corridor.
  • Offer a new travel choice for single-occupancy vehicles (SOVs) that could not use the road before in the peak direction due to the existing HOV-2+ restriction.
  • Improve reliability and provide new options for all travelers, including buses, carpools and other transit users.
  • Enhance transit service.
  • Create opportunities for improved levels of service on parallel routes.
  • Provide seamless connectivity to the region’s 40+ miles of express lanes.
  • Provide revenue stream support to multimodal components on I-66 and complementary corridors adjacent to I-66.
Expected Benefits of Transform 66: Inside the Beltway
Reduce Person Hours of Delay Reliability Person Throughput
Eliminates 26,000 person hours a day 45mph+ compared to 20mph to 60mph 40,000+ additional people per day

Tolling:

What are the proposed tolling periods?

I-66 Inside the Beltway will be tolled from 5:30 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. eastbound and from 3:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. westbound, Monday through Friday. The lanes will remain free to all traffic during the off-peak periods and on weekends.

Who will have to pay the tolls?

Solo drivers will have the option to pay a toll and legally use the lanes during rush hours. When toll collection begins in 2017, the lanes will be free for HOV-2+ and buses.

Motorcycles and emergency response vehicles will be exempt from the tolls.

Will hybrid vehicles be exempt from paying a toll?

Solo drivers in hybrid vehicles will not be exempt from paying a toll or meeting the HOV requirement to travel for free.  When toll collection begins in 2017, the lanes will be free for HOV-2+ and buses.

Will drivers heading to Dulles International Airport be exempt from paying a toll?

Solo drivers traveling to and from Dulles International Airport will not be exempt from paying a toll or meeting the HOV requirement to travel for free.  When toll collection begins in 2017, the lanes will be free for HOV-2+ and buses.

Will heavy trucks be permitted to use the lanes?

Heavy trucks will be prohibited from using the lanes at all times, just as they are today.

What options will be available for people who do not want to or cannot pay the toll, or meet the HOV requirement?

Numerous travel choices are and will continue to be available within the area, including the use of Metrorail; local, regional and commuter bus service; and carpooling. Dynamic tolling on I-66 is expected to keep traffic moving, which will be beneficial for drivers who choose to carpool or take a bus. In addition, as part of the Transform 66 Inside the Beltway Project, toll revenues will be reinvested in enhancing and expanding transit services, including new bus routes and easier access to Metrorail.

How much are the estimated tolls?

Tolls will only apply during rush hours in the peak direction. Carpoolers meeting the occupancy requirements, vanpools, and buses will travel for free. Tolls will vary based on demand to ensure that toll paying users will have a high-speed, reliable trip similar to the I-495 Express Lanes and I-95 Express Lanes. It is anticipated that the average toll will be $5-6 a trip – similar to or lower than the tolls on other express lanes in Northern Virginia.

Who will collect the tolls?

The Commonwealth of Virginia will own, operate and maintain I-66 Inside the Beltway. The toll revenue will be controlled by the Commonwealth and will stay in the corridor to benefit I-66.

How will the toll revenue be used?

The revenue generated by the tolls will be used to fund additional multimodal improvements that benefit the toll payers and users of the I-66 Corridor. The toll revenue will also be used to repay the infrastructure investment, and operate and maintain the toll facility on I-66.

Upcoming Changes to I-66:

Why will the vehicle occupancy limit be raised from HOV-2 to HOV-3+?

In 2010, the Transportation Planning Board of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments adopted a plan to modify the high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) rules on all regional interstates, including I-66 Inside and Outside the Beltway, as part of the Constrained Long-Range Transportation Plan. Regardless of this project, the occupancy requirement on I-66 will increase from HOV-2 to HOV-3 by 2020. Raising the occupancy requirement will help the region move more people in fewer vehicles, thereby supporting regional efforts to manage the growth in traffic congestion and meet federal air quality regulations for the Metropolitan Washington area.

Why will Clean Special Fuel Vehicles not be exempt from the tolls?

In 1994, legislation was passed that allowed vehicles with Clean Special Fuel License Plates to use HOV lanes without meeting the minimum occupancy requirements. In response to rising congestion along the I-66 Corridor during HOV restricted hours, plates issued from 2011 and on are no longer permitted to travel on the HOV lanes on I-66, unless they meet the occupancy requirements.

In addition, federal rules require limiting or discontinuing the use of HOV lanes by hybrids when the lanes are degraded (operating at less than 45 MPH). I-66 is currently degraded and has been for a number of years. Clean Special Fuel Vehicles will be treated like any other vehicle and will be able to use I-66 during HOV periods by meeting the occupancy requirements or paying a toll.

Multimodal Improvements:

What type of multimodal improvements will be implemented?

Eligible components include:

  • Enhanced bus service
  • Park and ride lots
  • Vanpool and carpool improvements
  • Roadway operational improvements
  • Metrorail improvements
  • Transportation systems management
  • Roadway improvements on parallel routes

How will the multimodal improvement projects be selected?

The Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC) will plan and select the multimodal improvements, in accordance with applicable law and the terms of the framework agreement between the Commonwealth and NVTC. Projects will be proposed by eligible jurisdictions, and will be evaluated and selected by NVTC based on established criteria and evaluation measures. The process will involve coordination with eligible jurisdictions and input from the public.

Toll revenue can only be used for components selected by the NVTC that will:

  • Benefit toll paying users of I-66 inside the Beltway
  • Be submitted by a jurisdiction in Planning District 8
  • Move more people through the corridor
  • Be implemented within 5 years

NVTC will issue grants to and coordinate with agencies to ensure the efficient delivery of selected projects. NVTC will also monitor the effectiveness of projects and report to VDOT.

Who will control the funds for the multimodal improvement projects?

NVTC will manage and distribute the funds made available from the tolling revenue.

Traffic Diversion:

Will traffic be diverted from I-66 to local roads due to the tolling?

According to the results of the travel demand model, which compared the 2017 No-Build condition to the 2017 Build condition where I-66 will operate as a HOT-3+ facility during the AM (eastbound) and PM (westbound) peak hours:

  • In general, traffic volume changes within the I-66 study area are relatively minor for the eastbound AM peak hour and westbound PM peak hour.
  • Eastbound traffic volumes are expected to decrease on U.S. Route 29, VA Route 267, and VA Route 123 during the AM peak hour.
  • Westbound traffic volumes are expected to decrease on VA Route 7, VA Route 267 and U.S. Route 50 during the PM peak hour.

Widening:

Will I-66 inside the Beltway be widened?

Yes, construction of an additional eastbound lane is expected to start in early 2018 and open to traffic in late 2020. Construction is not anticipated to require the displacement of homes or businesses, and will be completed largely within the existing right of way.

Will toll revenues be used to widen I-66?

No, this work will be funded with un-programmed funds resulting from increased revenues from the recently enacted federal FAST Act and updated state revenue forecast, and will not impact the recommended House Bill 2 funding scenario for the High Priority Projects program or Construction Districts Grant program.

Contact Information

What is the best way to contact the project team?

For more information on the Transform 66 Inside the Beltway project, please visit www.Transform66.org. Inquiries or requests can be emailed to the project team at: Transform66@VDOT.Virginia.gov.