Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Contact: Nancy Singer
FHWA Administrator Mendez Celebrates the Opening of 495 Express Lanes in Northern Virginia
TYSONS CORNER, Va. - Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez today participated in the opening of the 495 Express Lanes in northern Virginia. The project is a model of innovative financing and provides new travel options on the Capital Beltway, one of the region's busiest roads. Administrator Mendez joined Gov. Bob McDonnell and other state and local officials at the celebration.
"These new lanes will reduce congestion, helping visitors, commuters and commerce move more efficiently around the Washington, D.C., metro area for decades to come," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "It's all part of President Obama's vision of an America Built to Last, strengthening our infrastructure while creating jobs and growing the economy."
The new 495 Express Lanes will improve access to Tysons Corner, Virginia's largest employment center, and Inova Fairfax Hospital. The project will also significantly expand the region's high occupancy vehicle (HOV) network by linking with the planned I-95HOV/HOT lanes, I-66 and the Dulles Toll Road.
The 14-mile corridor of four new HOV/ HOT lanes (two in each direction) on the Virginia side of the Capital Beltway stretches from the Springfield Interchange to just north of the Dulles Toll Road. There will be a fee to use the lanes, which will fluctuate according to traffic volume, and the system will use electronic tolling to ensure traffic moves continuously. Carpools with three or more people will use the lanes free of charge.
"Everyone driving in and around this highly congested area will benefit from these new lanes," said Administrator Mendez. "This project created good jobs and will continue to support the region's economic growth."
The $2 billion 495 Express Lanes Project represents a model of innovative financing for the country. The Department's Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan program provided $588 million for the project. In addition, the project received $300 million in federal aid and $600 million in private activity bond authority.
The Virginia Department of Transportation and Capital Beltway Express, LLC, are funding the remainder of the project which was made possible through a public-private partnership.
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