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Author Topic: Virginia  (Read 746082 times)

cpzilliacus

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #275 on: February 06, 2012, 08:33:12 AM »

Oh looky here. Police pulling people over on the interstate in Virginia is making others angry. Who saw that coming?

http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/news/2012/feb/05/tdmain01-legislative-scrutiny-increases-on-traffic-ar-1665059/

I've no problem with local law enforcement officers doing their job (enforcing the law), even on an Interstate highway, given that the Virginia State Police force is frequently stretched pretty thin.  But consider also that the segment of I-295 in question probably has a design speed of about 150 MPH ;-)

Still, the posted limit is not quite that high (70 sounds correct - I drive I-295 pretty frequently - a bypass highway in the best sense of the phrase - a much easier drive than I-95 through Richmond and Petersburg).  And motorists driving over 80 MPH, especially in the Commonwealth of Virginia, do so at their own risk.

But I have a huge problem with the revenue-raising aspect of this - especially revenue raising for Hopewell's municipal government - that sounds like a speed trap.  Fine revenue from traffic summonses issued by the Virginia State Police (for the most part) goes to the Commonwealth's Literacy Fund, not to the State Police (exception for "liquidated damages" tickets issued to overweight commercial vehicles - I think VDOT gets those revenues).  No financial incentive for troopers in Virginia to write tickets knowing that the dollars come back to them. 

So in a perfect world, fines paid as a result of summonses issued by local law enforcement officers would also go to the Literacy Fund, and not to the county or municipal government employing them. 

In my home state of Maryland, local governments may not pass laws or ordinances concerning traffic (except parking), which means that all "moving violations" are infractions of the state's Transportation Article, and fine revenue goes to the state treasury, not a county or municipal government.

Two other places in Virginia where local law enforcement officers engage in aggressive traffic enforcement include:

(1) I-95 through Emporia (just north of the North Carolina border); and
(2) U.S. 29 through Greene County (between Charlottesville and Culpeper).

Traditionally, the Cities of Fairfax and Falls Church have had reputations for being tough on traffic infractions, but maybe not as much now as they once were.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #276 on: February 06, 2012, 08:36:59 AM »

Washington Post: Consulting commuters on I-66 needs

That article noted the status of "spot improvements" to I-66 inside the Beltway.  Those included the new auxiliary lane on westbound I-66 in Arlington between the Glebe Rd. and Sycamore St. exits, that very, very quietly opened in December without (AFAIK) any mention in the Post.  There are two similar spot improvements in the pipeline, but those are on hold pending an I-66 "multi-modal" corridor study scheduled to be done in June.  I would not bet the ranch on either one going forward.

Let's see what the results of the study says. 

Heck, I-66 might just be the most multi-modal corridor in Virginia - today
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #277 on: February 06, 2012, 08:42:26 AM »

Oh looky here. Police pulling people over on the interstate in Virginia is making others angry. Who saw that coming?

http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/news/2012/feb/05/tdmain01-legislative-scrutiny-increases-on-traffic-ar-1665059/

"Anderson said about 99 percent of the speeding citations issued are for driving more than 10 mph over the speed limit. More than 500 motorists were cited for driving 90 to 99 mph, and 19 for driving 100 mph or more."

Those miscreants deserved to be ticketed.

No problem with ticketing them - and I mean ticketing all of them (if the Hopewell sheriff can muster enough officers to do that). 

Big problem with the Hopewell sheriff doing this to raise revenue for his agency and maybe for the City of Hopewell.

Quoting from the Times-Dispatch (emphasis added):

Quote
"It's not about the money to me," Anderson said forcefully and repeatedly during a recent interview. The purpose, the sheriff said, is to slow people down and save lives.

Sorry - I don't believe him.
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #278 on: February 06, 2012, 09:10:35 AM »

You may not believe him, but the numbers suggest otherwise.  If it were about the money, you'd think they'd be nabbing everybody they could who was going 71.  But they point out virtually all the tickets were for those going 80+.
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Beltway

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #279 on: February 06, 2012, 09:21:09 AM »

You may not believe him, but the numbers suggest otherwise.  If it were about the money, you'd think they'd be nabbing everybody they could who was going 71.  But they point out virtually all the tickets were for those going 80+.

And many going far in excess of 80.  While I have questions about local law enforcement on Interstate highways, I will point out that Hopewell does have part of the responsibilites to provide emergency services to that segment of I-295, such as police, fire, EMS and hospital.  So it is not fair for anyone to suggest that they have no stake in law enforcement on I-295.
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1995hoo

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #280 on: February 06, 2012, 09:48:41 AM »

You may not believe him, but the numbers suggest otherwise.  If it were about the money, you'd think they'd be nabbing everybody they could who was going 71.  But they point out virtually all the tickets were for those going 80+.


On the other hand, though, anything in excess of 80 mph is statutorily grounds for a reckless driving ticket. While I've had the good fortune never to suffer one of those, I assume the average fine is substantially higher given that reckless driving is a criminal offense in Virginia rather than an "infraction" like most traffic tickets are. So there may be a definite incentive for the cops to focus on the "80-plus" crowd.

A ticket for 71 in a 70 zone is something you'll rarely see anywhere because police officers almost universally allow some amount of tolerance in case of speedometer error, which apparently is quite common. To me the most odious law in that respect is in Victoria, where the speed cameras will ticket for 3 km/h over the speed limit even though Australian federal law specifically allows a driver 10% tolerance on his speedometer for error (so, if the speed limit is 120, you'd be allowed 12 km/h error, or about 7 mph).

Getting back to Virginia, while I think the speed limit on most of that portion of I-295 is too low (except through the work zones), I don't have a lot of sympathy for people who get nailed for going over 80 mph and who get tagged with a reckless ticket as a result. As cpzilliacus notes, if you choose to go over 80 mph in Virginia, you do it at your own risk given the well-known reckless driving laws (although a lot of people mistakenly think that the reckless law is solely a "20 over" law; they forget the "in excess of 80 mph" part as well as the various other statutes setting forth other grounds for this offense). I certainly drive slower than I did when I was younger (and dumber), and my desire to keep my lower insurance premiums surely factors into that, but I'm also not regularly going up and down mind-numbing I-85 several times a year anymore.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #281 on: February 06, 2012, 10:38:55 AM »

You may not believe him, but the numbers suggest otherwise.  If it were about the money, you'd think they'd be nabbing everybody they could who was going 71.  But they point out virtually all the tickets were for those going 80+.

Froggie, I suggest that the Sheriff of Hopewell knows darned well that if his deputies were to issue summonses to all speeders on I-295, he would almost certainly incur the wrath of a substantial majority of the honorable members of the Virginia General Assembly, which would presumably result in nullification of municipal and county traffic laws in Virginia (as an aside, knowing that Virginia is a Dillon Rule state, I find it very curious that the Commonwealth allows its counties and cities and towns to enact local traffic laws at all).

Sheriff Anderson's deputies would almost certainly cause an increase in traffic crashes if he were to engage in "saturation" speed limit enforcement - on what is generally a pretty safe and modern highway.

Again, I have no sympathy for motorists that get stopped for exceeding the posted speed limit, especially those that exceed it by substantial margins (even though, in my opinion, most of Virginia's I-295 could safely have a posted limit of 80 MPH).

But I dislike intensely the use of traffic law enforcement as a way for any unit of government to raise revenue.
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Beltway

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #282 on: February 06, 2012, 10:46:46 AM »

You may not believe him, but the numbers suggest otherwise.  If it were about the money, you'd think they'd be nabbing everybody they could who was going 71.  But they point out virtually all the tickets were for those going 80+.

Froggie, I suggest that the Sheriff of Hopewell knows darned well that if his deputies were to issue summonses to all speeders on I-295, he would almost certainly incur the wrath of a substantial majority of the honorable members of the Virginia General Assembly, which would presumably result in nullification of municipal and county traffic laws in Virginia (as an aside, knowing that Virginia is a Dillon Rule state, I find it very curious that the Commonwealth allows its counties and cities and towns to enact local traffic laws at all).

That's a strawman argument.  They don't have the resources to issue tickets to ALL speeders.  They don't have the resources to issue tickets to even a substantial minority.  They DO have enough resources to provide a visible disincentive to the worst speeders (80 to 100+)

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #283 on: February 06, 2012, 11:14:22 AM »

You may not believe him, but the numbers suggest otherwise.  If it were about the money, you'd think they'd be nabbing everybody they could who was going 71.  But they point out virtually all the tickets were for those going 80+.

And many going far in excess of 80.  While I have questions about local law enforcement on Interstate highways, I will point out that Hopewell does have part of the responsibilites to provide emergency services to that segment of I-295, such as police, fire, EMS and hospital.  So it is not fair for anyone to suggest that they have no stake in law enforcement on I-295.

Though as the article stated, investigation of crashes and other incidents on I-295 are handled by the Virginia State Police, not local law enforcement - an arrangement that holds in most places in Virginia.

And I know that the border between Hopewell and territory to its west, Prince George County is rather "jagged," and the border crosses I-295 several times between the Va. 36 (Oaklawn Boulevard) interchange and the Appomattox River. So yes, presumably Hopewell's fire and EMS agencies do respond to crashes on I-295, and there are probably times when the VSP requests backup response from Hopewell law enforcement.  

But on the flipside, the city derives tax revenue from the freeway-oriented businesses along Va. 36 near the 295 interchange.
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Beltway

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #284 on: February 06, 2012, 12:22:59 PM »

And many going far in excess of 80.  While I have questions about local law enforcement on Interstate highways, I will point out that Hopewell does have part of the responsibilites to provide emergency services to that segment of I-295, such as police, fire, EMS and hospital.  So it is not fair for anyone to suggest that they have no stake in law enforcement on I-295.

Though as the article stated, investigation of crashes and other incidents on I-295 are handled by the Virginia State Police, not local law enforcement - an arrangement that holds in most places in Virginia.

And I know that the border between Hopewell and territory to its west, Prince George County is rather "jagged," and the border crosses I-295 several times between the Va. 36 (Oaklawn Boulevard) interchange and the Appomattox River. So yes, presumably Hopewell's fire and EMS agencies do respond to crashes on I-295, and there are probably times when the VSP requests backup response from Hopewell law enforcement. 

Plus hospital.  The John Randolph Medical Center would be the default choice for about a 10-mile section of I-295.
Quote

But on the flipside, the city derives tax revenue from the freeway-oriented businesses along Va. 36 near the 295 interchange.

Not much, on the balance.  A considerable number of businesses and homes were removed in order to build the I-295/VA-36 interchange, and much of what is there now was there before I-295.  Doubt that there has been any net increase in businesses there.  Hopewell is well aware of this, of course.



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cpzilliacus

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #285 on: February 06, 2012, 07:33:47 PM »

But on the flipside, the city derives tax revenue from the freeway-oriented businesses along Va. 36 near the 295 interchange.

Quote
Not much, on the balance.  A considerable number of businesses and homes were removed in order to build the I-295/VA-36 interchange, and much of what is there now was there before I-295.  Doubt that there has been any net increase in businesses there.  Hopewell is well aware of this, of course.

I will have to defer to your better knowledge regarding Hopewell and Va. 36 in the pre-I-295 days.  Though it looks like Hopewell might have annexed some land around that interchange (along Va. 36) at some point.

Before 295 was completed, the only thing I know about Hopewell was the Kepone pollution scandal in the 1970's - like nearly all other N-S driving motorists on I-95, I paid my RPT tolls and stayed on I-95 (or I-85 if headed in the direction of Durham).
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #286 on: February 06, 2012, 07:46:57 PM »

You may not believe him, but the numbers suggest otherwise.  If it were about the money, you'd think they'd be nabbing everybody they could who was going 71.  But they point out virtually all the tickets were for those going 80+.

Froggie, I suggest that the Sheriff of Hopewell knows darned well that if his deputies were to issue summonses to all speeders on I-295, he would almost certainly incur the wrath of a substantial majority of the honorable members of the Virginia General Assembly, which would presumably result in nullification of municipal and county traffic laws in Virginia (as an aside, knowing that Virginia is a Dillon Rule state, I find it very curious that the Commonwealth allows its counties and cities and towns to enact local traffic laws at all).

That's a strawman argument.  They don't have the resources to issue tickets to ALL speeders.  They don't have the resources to issue tickets to even a substantial minority.  They DO have enough resources to provide a visible disincentive to the worst speeders (80 to 100+)

From what the Times-Dispatch article said, Hopewell did not have the resources to do any traffic enforcement on I-295 until recently (and as in most Virginia cities and counties with a police department, traffic enforcement is not usually a primary part of the sheriff's office). 

It would be interesting if the T-D were to ask similar questions about speed limit enforcement on I-95 in the vicinity of Emporia.  Like Hopewell, I have frequently noticed local law enforcement issuing speeding tickets on the Interstate in and near that municipality.
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #287 on: February 06, 2012, 09:14:21 PM »

And many going far in excess of 80.  While I have questions about local law enforcement on Interstate highways, I will point out that Hopewell does have part of the responsibilites to provide emergency services to that segment of I-295, such as police, fire, EMS and hospital.  So it is not fair for anyone to suggest that they have no stake in law enforcement on I-295.

Though as the article stated, investigation of crashes and other incidents on I-295 are handled by the Virginia State Police, not local law enforcement - an arrangement that holds in most places in Virginia.

And I know that the border between Hopewell and territory to its west, Prince George County is rather "jagged," and the border crosses I-295 several times between the Va. 36 (Oaklawn Boulevard) interchange and the Appomattox River. So yes, presumably Hopewell's fire and EMS agencies do respond to crashes on I-295, and there are probably times when the VSP requests backup response from Hopewell law enforcement. 

Plus hospital.  The John Randolph Medical Center would be the default choice for about a 10-mile section of I-295.

That hospital has been owned by the for-profit HCA hospital system since the mid-1990s.  I don't know the details of the hospital's current relationship with the city government, but local taxpayers probably don't provide any significant financial support, especially for auto accident cases, which tend to be the least financially burdensome of trauma and emergency cases for hospitals (victims are more likely to be insured than, say, inner-city "knife and gun club" members).
« Last Edit: February 06, 2012, 09:16:18 PM by oscar »
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Beltway

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #288 on: February 06, 2012, 10:01:48 PM »

Plus hospital.  The John Randolph Medical Center would be the default choice for about a 10-mile section of I-295.

That hospital has been owned by the for-profit HCA hospital system since the mid-1990s.  I don't know the details of the hospital's current relationship with the city government, but local taxpayers probably don't provide any significant financial support, especially for auto accident cases, which tend to be the least financially burdensome of trauma and emergency cases for hospitals (victims are more likely to be insured than, say, inner-city "knife and gun club" members).

Irrelevant.  The point being that it is part of the medical resource base of the Hopewell area.

A wreck that put 5 or 10 people in the hospital would draw considerable regional resources of ambulances and hospital beds.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2012, 10:08:35 PM by Beltway »
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #289 on: February 06, 2012, 10:03:35 PM »

Quote
Not much, on the balance.  A considerable number of businesses and homes were removed in order to build the I-295/VA-36 interchange, and much of what is there now was there before I-295.  Doubt that there has been any net increase in businesses there.  Hopewell is well aware of this, of course.

I will have to defer to your better knowledge regarding Hopewell and Va. 36 in the pre-I-295 days.  Though it looks like Hopewell might have annexed some land around that interchange (along Va. 36) at some point.

No annexations.
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #290 on: February 06, 2012, 11:07:42 PM »

T
Plus hospital.  The John Randolph Medical Center would be the default choice for about a 10-mile section of I-295.

That hospital has been owned by the for-profit HCA hospital system since the mid-1990s.  I don't know the details of the hospital's current relationship with the city government, but local taxpayers probably don't provide any significant financial support, especially for auto accident cases, which tend to be the least financially burdensome of trauma and emergency cases for hospitals (victims are more likely to be insured than, say, inner-city "knife and gun club" members).

Irrelevant.  The point being that it is part of the medical resource base of the Hopewell area.

A wreck that put 5 or 10 people in the hospital would draw considerable regional resources of ambulances and hospital beds.

Huh?  The argument being made above is that local law enforcement has a financial reason to care about what goes on I-295 passing through the Hopewell area, to the extent that travelers end up in the hospital, and so local police have a special need to supplement the Virginia State Police.  Even if a privately-owned HCA hospital is in some sense part of the "medical resource base" of the area, it's a part that HCA handles, and not part of what the local governments (including the one the Hopewell police work for) are responsible for or have a financial stake in.  EMS/ambulance, perhaps, but not the hospital, so the latter is essentially irrelevant to the argument, and you would do better to stick to the former.

BTW, the hospitals in the Richmond region, not just in Hopewell, are generally owned/operated by private companies (mainly HCA and a large Catholic system), or a state university (VCU/Medical College of Virginia), rather than local governments.  That's not always true in other regions.
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #291 on: February 07, 2012, 06:29:49 AM »

T
Plus hospital.  The John Randolph Medical Center would be the default choice for about a 10-mile section of I-295.

That hospital has been owned by the for-profit HCA hospital system since the mid-1990s.  I don't know the details of the hospital's current relationship with the city government, but local taxpayers probably don't provide any significant financial support, especially for auto accident cases, which tend to be the least financially burdensome of trauma and emergency cases for hospitals (victims are more likely to be insured than, say, inner-city "knife and gun club" members).

Irrelevant.  The point being that it is part of the medical resource base of the Hopewell area.

A wreck that put 5 or 10 people in the hospital would draw considerable regional resources of ambulances and hospital beds.

Huh?  The argument being made above is that local law enforcement has a financial reason to care about what goes on I-295 passing through the Hopewell area, to the extent that travelers end up in the hospital, and so local police have a special need to supplement the Virginia State Police.  Even if a privately-owned HCA hospital is in some sense part of the "medical resource base" of the area, it's a part that HCA handles, and not part of what the local governments (including the one the Hopewell police work for) are responsible for or have a financial stake in.  EMS/ambulance, perhaps, but not the hospital, so the latter is essentially irrelevant to the argument, and you would do better to stick to the former.

The local government has a stake in what impacts the community.
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #292 on: February 09, 2012, 04:29:34 PM »

WTOP Radio on construction impacts at I-66 and I-495 interchange: Construction at Beltway Interchange spurs traffic complaints
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #293 on: February 11, 2012, 03:55:44 PM »

Colonial Heights has replaced some signage at major intersections with its own custom-made directory signs. One of the removed signs included the US 144 error.
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #294 on: February 11, 2012, 06:44:59 PM »

Colonial Heights has replaced some signage at major intersections with its own custom-made directory signs. One of the removed signs included the US 144 error.

Do the new signs have correct shields on them? (Or any shields at all, for that matter?)
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #295 on: February 11, 2012, 06:57:33 PM »

No shields, just directional arrows to city sites and landmarks.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2012, 06:59:04 PM by Takumi »
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #296 on: February 13, 2012, 11:13:08 AM »

WTOP Radio: VDOT investigates why sign fell on I-66

Quote
Investigators from the Virginia Department of Transportation are trying to determine why a 30-foot sign collapsed onto Interstate 66 Saturday.

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The sign fell into the eastbound lanes of I-66 near Monument Drive around 2:45 p.m. The sign struck a pickup truck, but nobody was injured.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #297 on: February 15, 2012, 07:49:03 AM »

Also WTOP Radio: Financing approval anticipated for I-95/395 express lanes

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WASHINGTON - The express lanes being built on the Capital Beltway in Northern Virginia promise a speedy commute in exchange for paying a toll.

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And, there are plans to put a similar network of lanes in place along 29 miles of Interstate 95/395. That project, which would run from Garrisonville Road in Stafford County to about Edsall Road in Fairfax County, is expected to clear another hurdle Wednesday.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #298 on: February 20, 2012, 04:54:35 PM »

D.C. Examiner: Despite warnings, Virginia rarely enforces speeding from above

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The state rarely uses Aerial Speed Enforcement operations because of budget constraints. It costs $150 an hour to fuel and maintain the aircraft needed for the surveillance, according to the Virginia State Police, plus overtime expenses for the additional troopers needed to assist in the effort. Missions tend to last four to six hours.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #299 on: February 22, 2012, 08:24:32 AM »

WTOP Radio regarding the I-495 (Va.) Express Lanes project: More changes coming along the Express Lanes project
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