A quintessentially American policy drama is playing out in Northern Viriginia as politically motivated delays threaten to scuttle a multibillion project everyone recognizes is essential to improving the efficiency of the regional transportation network. The project is the $2 billion I-95/I-395 High Occupancy (HOT) Toll Lane intiative that will add three lanes to the current roadway. The HOT Lanes are being built and managed by two of the world’s leading experts and most experienced developers of tollroads: Fluor and Transurban.
The problem is that the project has been delayed, first by a lawsuit from Arlington, Virginia that, bowing to NIMBY pressure, who didn’t want the new road capacity. The second problem is the re-alignment is triggering revisions to the environmental review. The delays are making the private partners throw up their hands in dismay. According to the Washington Examiner (June 7, 2011):
“We’ve been negotiating and we’re ready to move, but the [approval] process is largely out of our hands,” Transurban CEO Chris Lynch told the Australian newspaper. “If this continues for another 12 months or more, there come’s a point where I think we’d be ready to walk away.”
The project has already been delayed 18 months after Arlington County sued over an environmental study. The state eventually moved the project out of Arlington. The revised project would add HOT lanes along I-95 from Garrisonville Road in Stafford County to Edsall Road in Fairfax.
Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://washingtonexaminer.com/local/virginia/2011/06/hot-lanes-contractor-threatens-quit-over-delays#ixzz1Onf97brk