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Author Topic: Virginia  (Read 653338 times)

cpzilliacus

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #2800 on: December 29, 2017, 06:29:09 PM »

Part of the issue is that due to Dillon Rule laws, all authorities basically emanate from Richmond and must go through the General Assembly. Hence, Arlington needs permission to tax itself, etc etc.

At least in Virginia, there's no such thing as a Dillon Rule law.  Dillon Rule in Virginia is rooted in an 1896 appellate court opinion.

See this page.

Quote
    ...a municipal corporation possesses and can exercise the following powers, and no others: First, those granted in express words; Second, those necessarily or fairly implied in or incident to the powers expressly granted; Third, those essential to the declared objects and purposes of the corporation, not simply convenient, but indispensable. Any fair, reasonable doubt concern ing the existence of power is resolved by the courts against the corporation, and the power is denied.

Quote
The Virginia Supreme Court has applied the Dillon Rule since 1896; for over a century, the rule has been cited in lawsuits filed in state courts in Virginia. The decision was triggered by a case involving the City of Winchester. The arsonist was caught, thanks to information provided by Mr. T. H. Redmond, but Winchester wanted to renege on its offer and keep its $500.

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The Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals (as the state's highest court was known in 1896) determined that the city had no explicit authority from the General Assembly to pay a reward. Winchester got to keep its $500, and the City of Winchester v. Redmond decision established the Dillon Rule for Virginia courts:

A municipal corporation has no powers except those conferred upon it expressly or by fair implication by its charter, or the general laws of the State, and such other powers as are essential to the attainment and maintenance of its declared objects and purposes. It can do no act, make no contract, nor incur any liability that is not thus authorized. If it be even doubtful whether a given power has been conferred, the doubt must be resolved against the power.
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VTGoose

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #2801 on: December 29, 2017, 09:27:03 PM »

The "one way" to help SW Virginia is to give "one-way" bus and train tickets to productive areas of state. You could build a 16-lane interstate and it wouldn't reopen coal mines or textile plants...

I said nothing about re-opening any coal mines or textile plants. 

Coal is a victim of the enormous amounts of natural gas that are being extracted with fracking (in states like Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania), and I do not think anyone is going to change that. Unfortunately, it seems that employment generated by fracking is quite small (this is based on my informal observations of fracking wells in West Virginia). It is also cheaper to burn gas than coal for an assortment of reasons - starting with the lack of any toxic ash from gas-fired boilers, and carbon emissions are lower.  And it seems that coal mined in places like Wyoming is cheaper to extract than what is mined in Appalachia.

I doubt that large textile mills will return to any part of the United States anytime soon, though there may be some "specialty" mills (and there are people like me that are willing to pay a little more for garments that are not made in China).

But I am of the opinion that Southwest Virginia can be doing other things (and I do not claim to know what those other things might be - and not just growth in knowledge industries at and near Virginia Tech).  One is probably related to forestry and products from same, though I do not claim to know how much employment will result from that.

Coal has been dying for years as the cost to go further and deeper have gone up while the price per ton dropped depending on foreign competition.

Shipping residents of Southwest Virginia to other parts of the state is a pretty simplistic way of looking at solutions. Leaving large parts of the state vacant while increasing the population in already overburdened areas doesn't help anyone.

There are some areas that are working the tourism angle, taking advantage of stripmined areas and other undeveloped parts of their county to offer ATV riding in the woods. It will help help to have decent roads to get the tourists there. If we had a representative worth anything in the 9th district and members of the General Assembly who were more interested in their constituents than toeing the party line, maybe other things would happen, like improved broadband service that would make the area attractive to businesses.

Because of the disparity between NOVA schools and the schools in Southwest and Southside Virginia, there is resentment over how taxes are allocated. The feeling is that since property values are higher in NOVA, leading to greater local contributions to the schools, then the state should adjust the funding formula to change the balance.

Bruce in Blacksburg
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #2802 on: December 29, 2017, 10:31:29 PM »

Coal has been dying for years as the cost to go further and deeper have gone up while the price per ton dropped depending on foreign competition.

Though  it is better to burn Appalachian coal than that really nasty brown coal that the Germans mine and use.

Shipping residents of Southwest Virginia to other parts of the state is a pretty simplistic way of looking at solutions. Leaving large parts of the state vacant while increasing the population in already overburdened areas doesn't help anyone.

Some of that happens "naturally" anyway.  I personally know people that have moved to Northern Virginia from other (and less-prosperous) parts of the  Commonwealth, because Northern Virginia has employment.   But overall, I do not think that shipping people out is such a great idea (though that may have to happen with  Tangier because of sea level rise).

There are some areas that are working the tourism angle, taking advantage of stripmined areas and other undeveloped parts of their county to offer ATV riding in the woods. It will help help to have decent roads to get the tourists there. If we had a representative worth anything in the 9th district and members of the General Assembly who were more interested in their constituents than toeing the party line, maybe other things would happen, like improved broadband service that would make the area attractive to businesses.

Is that enough to sustain a community all year-round?

Broadband should be a national priority for the entire nation, though it is not with the current powers that be in Washington.

Because of the disparity between NOVA schools and the schools in Southwest and Southside Virginia, there is resentment over how taxes are allocated. The feeling is that since property values are higher in NOVA, leading to greater local contributions to the schools, then the state should adjust the funding formula to change the balance.

Not sure how effective that is.  Maryland does it (though we have only 24 county and county-equivilant jurisdictions), but the "bad" districts are still "bad."
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VTGoose

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #2803 on: December 30, 2017, 06:35:33 PM »

Coal has been dying for years as the cost to go further and deeper have gone up while the price per ton dropped depending on foreign competition.

Though it is better to burn Appalachian coal than that really nasty brown coal that the Germans mine and use.

Actually, it might be better to develop alternative means to generate energy, perhaps with plants to manufacture solar cells and/or wind turbines built in Southwest Virginia. There really aren't enough coal mines to sustain the economy like it was a century ago.

Shipping residents of Southwest Virginia to other parts of the state is a pretty simplistic way of looking at solutions. Leaving large parts of the state vacant while increasing the population in already overburdened areas doesn't help anyone.

Quote
Some of that happens "naturally" anyway.  I personally know people that have moved to Northern Virginia from other (and less-prosperous) parts of the  Commonwealth, because Northern Virginia has employment.   But overall, I do not think that shipping people out is such a great idea (though that may have to happen with  Tangier because of sea level rise).

That is what has happened in southern West Virginia (and to a smaller extent in the coal fields of Virginia) -- since there is nothing to keep young people in the region, so they bail for other points, leaving an aging population in an area with declining property values.

There are some areas that are working the tourism angle, taking advantage of stripmined areas and other undeveloped parts of their county to offer ATV riding in the woods. It will help help to have decent roads to get the tourists there. If we had a representative worth anything in the 9th district and members of the General Assembly who were more interested in their constituents than toeing the party line, maybe other things would happen, like improved broadband service that would make the area attractive to businesses.
Quote
Is that enough to sustain a community all year-round?

Broadband should be a national priority for the entire nation, though it is not with the current powers that be in Washington.

Year-round tourism isn't a big enough thing, but it has revived some communities. If a business (restaurant, bed-and-breakfast, etc.) can do well in a several-month period, there might be enough to sustain them through the down months.
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Beltway

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #2804 on: January 09, 2018, 11:58:19 PM »

Copied from another thread, for discussion here.  My opinions about the "Route 29 Solutions" projects.


As for US-29, the Piedmont Environmental Council will never allow an interstate to be built. Danville and Lynchburg were absolutely livid when Charlottesville & Albemarle County kept fighting against the proposed US-29 bypass of Charlottesville.

The "Route 29 Solutions" projects being built in lieu of the bypass, are a very selfish scheme, much more intended to provide a good circulator system for locals, than to benefit thru traffic.  The total cost is about the same for each, about $200 million.  The recently completed Berkmar Drive Extension provides a nice north-south local collector just to the west of US-29, and the under construction Hillsdale Drive Extension will provide a nice north-south local collector just to the east of US-29.  The recently completed Rio Road interchange with US-29 provides a convenient Rio Road east-west connector between the two roads above, and overpass over US-29.

Funding for study and preliminary engineering for improvements to the intersection of Hydraulic Road and Route 29 is included in the Route 29 Solutions package.  At the request of the City of Charlottesville, VDOT agreed to include the extension of Hillsdale Drive south to Holiday Drive in the Hydraulic Road intersection study.  If that interchange is built, again it will be much more intended to a provide good circulator system for locals, than to benefit thru traffic.

There will still be at least 5 intersections on US-29 with multi-phase signals, on the section that would have been bypassed, that will only increase in congestion in the future.  While the "Route 29 Solutions" projects will provide some traffic relief to US-29, it will still be dysfunctional for long-distance and interregional traffic.
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Beltway

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #2805 on: January 10, 2018, 12:55:11 PM »

http://www.virginiadot.org/newsroom/statewide/2018/ctb_awards_contract_for122351.asp

CTB AWARDS CONTRACT FOR I-95 SOUTHBOUND RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER CROSSING
Project will add three I-95 southbound travel lanes in the Fredericksburg area from north of exit 133 to south of exit 130 to reduce congestion

RICHMOND, Virginia – The Commonwealth Transportation Board has awarded a contract worth approximately $101.6 million to Wagman Heavy Civil Inc. of North Dinwiddie to build the Interstate 95 southbound Rappahannock River Crossing project in Stafford County, the City of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County.

The project seeks to reduce I-95 congestion in the Fredericksburg area by providing local traffic with additional lanes to travel between Route 17 and Route 3 without merging into the interstate’s general purpose lanes.

The Rappahannock River Crossing will build three new general purpose lanes for I-95 south stretching six miles in the current median of I-95. The new lanes would begin in the vicinity of Truslow Road, just north of Exit 133 at Route 17 in Stafford. The new lanes will end 1.2 miles south of Exit 130 at Route 3 in Fredericksburg, with the project terminus in Spotsylvania.

The three existing I-95 southbound lanes in this area will be converted to local traffic lanes, also known as collector-distributor lanes.

A new bridge will be built over the Rappahannock River parallel to the existing I-95 southbound bridge to carry the new general purpose traffic lanes.

Additionally, the bridges that carry I-95 north and south over Route 17 will be replaced as part of the project. Both bridges are structurally deficient, which does not imply that the bridges are likely to collapse or are unsafe, but that there are elements of the bridges that need to be monitored and/or repaired.

Construction will begin in summer 2018 and will be completed in 2022.
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1995hoo

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #2806 on: January 11, 2018, 03:17:50 PM »

Here's a weird bill pending this year. HB 27 would change the inspection sticker location from the windshield to the rear window in the lower corner on the driver's side. (Recall this year they are switching it from the bottom center of the windshield to the bottom corner on the driver's side.)

I think the rear-window idea is a terrible idea because most vehicle inspectors I've ever seen use a razor blade to remove the sticker. Using a razor blade on the rear window would damage the defroster wires on many vehicles, and I highly doubt most inspectors would be especially careful to avoid causing such damage.

Other bills of interest: HB 55 would increase the speed limit on US-501 from South Boston to the North Carolina state line to 60 mph; HB 73 would allow 60 mph on US-301, US-17, VA-3, and VA-207 where they are nonlimited access multilane divided highways (currently US-17 can only have a 60-mph limit between Port Royal and Saluda); HB 103 would require VDOT immediately to begin a project to add a lane in each direction on I-95 between Exit 126 and the Beltway (I'm not sure how this would affect the state's contract with Transurban); HB 177 would prohibit drivers from using handheld communications devices like phones and from driving with an animal on one's lap; HB 207 would establish a fine of up to $100 for failing to clear snow and ice from your vehicle before driving it; HB 308 would make it illegal to pass another vehicle by using a bike lane; HB 428 would add the phrase "and the minimum speed limit shall be 45 miles per hour" to the first sentence of Va. Code 46.2-870; and SB 46 would require you to stop for, rather than yield to, pedestrians who are crossing the street lawfully (the main difference from current law being that you would have to stop and remain stopped until the pedestrian is out of the street, whereas now you simply have to yield the right-of-way and need not necessarily stop if you can yield without stopping).
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Beltway

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #2807 on: January 11, 2018, 05:44:15 PM »

Other bills of interest: HB 55 would increase the speed limit on US-501 from South Boston to the North Carolina state line to 60 mph; HB 73 would allow 60 mph on US-301, US-17, VA-3, and VA-207 where they are nonlimited access multilane divided highways (currently US-17 can only have a 60-mph limit between Port Royal and Saluda);

This is silly, normally the GA sets a maximum allowed speed limit for a whole class of highway, such as when about 6 years ago they changed the law to allow any limited access highway with 4 or more lanes, up to 70 mph for cars, trucks and buses; and in order to raise the limit, pursuant to a traffic engineering study.  That is where the current 70 mph limits came from in VA.

About 10 to 12 years ago the GA changed the law and allowed up to 60 mph limits on nonlimited-access multilane divided segments of US-29, US-360, US-460, part of US-58, and part of US-17, again pursuant to a traffic engineering study.

Now they want to do more on a selected basis?

How about simply allowing up to 60 mph on any nonlimited-access multilane divided highway, pursuant to a traffic engineering study?

That will take a lot of work to study every segment, as that type of highway has a lot more variability in design standards than an Interstate highway, but they can prioritize the work starting with the most important highways.  They can hire a consultant if there is not enough VDOT in-house staffing to do the work.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2018, 05:55:24 PM by Beltway »
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LM117

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #2808 on: January 11, 2018, 06:13:44 PM »

Here's a weird bill pending this year. HB 27 would change the inspection sticker location from the windshield to the rear window in the lower corner on the driver's side. (Recall this year they are switching it from the bottom center of the windshield to the bottom corner on the driver's side.)



Quote
HB 103 would require VDOT immediately to begin a project to add a lane in each direction on I-95 between Exit 126 and the Beltway (I'm not sure how this would affect the state's contract with Transurban);

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Beltway

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #2809 on: January 11, 2018, 06:26:36 PM »

Here's a weird bill pending this year. HB 103 would require VDOT immediately to begin a project to add a lane in each direction on I-95 between Exit 126 and the Beltway (I'm not sure how this would affect the state's contract with Transurban);

Bypass Smart Scale?  Of course they are probably referring to beginning the location/EIS study, but those can cost $10s of millions.  That needs to go thru  Smart Scale as well.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2018, 06:29:32 PM by Beltway »
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oscar

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #2810 on: January 11, 2018, 06:32:03 PM »

Here's a weird bill pending this year. HB 27 would change the inspection sticker location from the windshield to the rear window in the lower corner on the driver's side. (Recall this year they are switching it from the bottom center of the windshield to the bottom corner on the driver's side.)

I think the rear-window idea is a terrible idea because most vehicle inspectors I've ever seen use a razor blade to remove the sticker. Using a razor blade on the rear window would damage the defroster wires on many vehicles, and I highly doubt most inspectors would be especially careful to avoid causing such damage.

I agree. Also, the rear window space that would be assigned to the inspection sticker (and, I assume, the county/city sticker alongside the inspection sticker) is where my condo association asks residents to place the condo sticker, which seems to be common for condo associations in my area.

On my car, the inspection sticker would go either on the glass hatch window where the defroster wires are, or on the plastic window below the "spoiler" separating it from the glass window, which inspectors' razor blades would scratch up.

I wonder why the inspection and county/city stickers couldn't stay on the front window, but go on the passenger side where they would not distract the driver and obstruct the driver's view over the hood.  I just had a safety inspection on my car, with the new sticker placed in the lower driver's side corner, and the new location is definitely more distracting and obstructive than the old bottom center location.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2018, 06:35:12 PM by oscar »
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LM117

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #2811 on: January 11, 2018, 06:35:19 PM »

Here's a weird bill pending this year. HB 27 would change the inspection sticker location from the windshield to the rear window in the lower corner on the driver's side. (Recall this year they are switching it from the bottom center of the windshield to the bottom corner on the driver's side.)

I think the rear-window idea is a terrible idea because most vehicle inspectors I've ever seen use a razor blade to remove the sticker. Using a razor blade on the rear window would damage the defroster wires on many vehicles, and I highly doubt most inspectors would be especially careful to avoid causing such damage.

I agree. Also, the rear window space that would be assigned to the inspection sticker (and, I assume, the county/city sticker alongside the inspection sticker) is where my condo association asks residents to place the condo sticker, which seems to be common for condo associations in my area.

On my car, the inspection sticker would go either on the glass hatch window where the defroster wires are, or on the plastic window below the "spoiler" separating it from the glass window, which inspectors' razor blades would scratch up.

I wonder why the inspection and county/city stickers couldn't stay on the front window, but go on the passenger side where they would not distract the driver and obstruct the driver's view over the hood.

Better yet, eliminate stickers altogether and go full electronic like some of the other states have done.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2018, 06:37:41 PM by LM117 »
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #2812 on: January 11, 2018, 06:36:56 PM »

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Beltway

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #2813 on: January 11, 2018, 07:41:07 PM »

Bypass Smart Scale?  Of course they are probably referring to beginning the location/EIS study, but those can cost $10s of millions.  That needs to go thru  Smart Scale as well.
Here's an excellent op-ed that covers the issue well and why they feel SmartScale has screwed them.
http://www.fredericksburg.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-two-more-lanes-desperately-needed-on-i/article_56f40768-a391-5ed7-a7be-a24eebed12ff.html

An editorial from a local Fredericksburg newspaper.  I have wondered myself if something like capital transportation project allocation decisions can really be reduced to a formula, but supposedly the model has been well-tested for all kinds of projects both large and small.

If it is not scoring highly then maybe they should analyze and find out why.  On the other hand there are transportation needs all over the state, and in the overall scheme of things, maybe a highway that already has 3 lanes each way doesn't score very highly.

I would like to see 4 general purpose lanes on I-95 each way from I-295 to I-495, it certainly is warranted.  But I am sure it would be expensive, 76 miles between I-295 and VA-123 that would need to be widened.  At $20 to $25 million per mile, that would be $1.52 billion to $1.9 billion.
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #2814 on: January 11, 2018, 08:27:57 PM »

Bypass Smart Scale?  Of course they are probably referring to beginning the location/EIS study, but those can cost $10s of millions.  That needs to go thru  Smart Scale as well.
Here's an excellent op-ed that covers the issue well and why they feel SmartScale has screwed them.
http://www.fredericksburg.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-two-more-lanes-desperately-needed-on-i/article_56f40768-a391-5ed7-a7be-a24eebed12ff.html

An editorial from a local Fredericksburg newspaper.  I have wondered myself if something like capital transportation project allocation decisions can really be reduced to a formula, but supposedly the model has been well-tested for all kinds of projects both large and small.

If it is not scoring highly then maybe they should analyze and find out why.  On the other hand there are transportation needs all over the state, and in the overall scheme of things, maybe a highway that already has 3 lanes each way doesn't score very highly.
Regional transportation authorities such as the NVTA and HRTAC are a major reason why so many big dollar projects are funded in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. While there have been some talks of establishing an RTA in the Fredricksburg region, it seems like a majority of the localities there are against it. Do there need to be some tweaks to the smart scale formula? Certainly. However overall, I have little sympathy for those who want all these major expensive transportation projects, yet don't want to help pay for them. The result? Either PP3 deals or proposed legislation that tries to bypass the smart scale system.
I would like to see 4 general purpose lanes on I-95 each way from I-295 to I-495, it certainly is warranted.  But I am sure it would be expensive, 76 miles between I-295 and VA-123 that would need to be widened.  At $20 to $25 million per mile, that would be $1.52 billion to $1.9 billion.
and that's not even including the astronomical compensation the state would have to pay Transburban...
« Last Edit: January 11, 2018, 08:30:11 PM by Jmiles32 »
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Beltway

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #2815 on: January 11, 2018, 10:06:38 PM »

An editorial from a local Fredericksburg newspaper.  I have wondered myself if something like capital transportation project allocation decisions can really be reduced to a formula, but supposedly the model has been well-tested for all kinds of projects both large and small.
If it is not scoring highly then maybe they should analyze and find out why.  On the other hand there are transportation needs all over the state, and in the overall scheme of things, maybe a highway that already has 3 lanes each way doesn't score very highly.
Regional transportation authorities such as the NVTA and HRTAC are a major reason why so many big dollar projects are funded in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. While there have been some talks of establishing an RTA in the Fredricksburg region, it seems like a majority of the localities there are against it. Do there need to be some tweaks to the smart scale formula? Certainly. However overall, I have little sympathy for those who want all these major expensive transportation projects, yet don't want to help pay for them. The result? Either PP3 deals or proposed legislation that tries to bypass the smart scale system.

I think that would set a bad precedent.  The Smart Scale system was legislated and designed to cover all highway and transportation projects that come under the governance of the Commonwealth Transportation Board, including PPTA projects.  Either have it cover 100% of projects or get rid of it altogether, IMHO.

Last time they did something like that was in the 1980s when a separate Six-Year Program was devised for the U.S. Route 58 Corridor Development Program.  It wasn't held to the same standards as the main SYP, and there were a variety of budgeting errors and games played with it.  The US-58 projects were rolled back into the main SYP in 1992.

I would like to see 4 general purpose lanes on I-95 each way from I-295 to I-495, it certainly is warranted.  But I am sure it would be expensive, 76 miles between I-295 and VA-123 that would need to be widened.  At $20 to $25 million per mile, that would be $1.52 billion to $1.9 billion.
and that's not even including the astronomical compensation the state would have to pay Transburban...

What evidence is there that would be a compensation event?   Even with 4 general purpose lanes each way, there is enough traffic demand that the HOT lanes should continue to get very high usage.
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #2816 on: January 11, 2018, 10:31:10 PM »

I would like to see 4 general purpose lanes on I-95 each way from I-295 to I-495, it certainly is warranted.  But I am sure it would be expensive, 76 miles between I-295 and VA-123 that would need to be widened.  At $20 to $25 million per mile, that would be $1.52 billion to $1.9 billion.
and that's not even including the astronomical compensation the state would have to pay Transburban...
What evidence is there that would be a compensation event?   Even with 4 general purpose lanes each way, there is enough traffic demand that the HOT lanes should continue to get very high usage.

http://potomaclocal.com/2017/01/13/virginia-wont-consider-widening-i-95-blames-express-lanes/
Quote
In a response, the CTB noted it wouldn’t even consider the project because of the negative impacts it could have to the Express Lanes.

“As a result of this review, it has been determined that…[widening] I-95 from Occoquan River bridge to Route 234 is not eligible for the following reasons: The project’s estimate would result in a compensation event for the I-95 Express Lanes…” the letter stated.
Quote
According to an agreement with the state, if there is the talk of widening I-95, Transurban gets the first crack at adding new lanes to Interstate 95, which it would operate as toll lanes. If the company opts not to add new lanes, “[VDOT] may add additional lanes as a department project…such Additional Lanes will constitute a compensation event,” according to a copy of the agreement McCord shared with Potomac Local.
It's a shame because judging by the latest PP3 deals the state has made(like the one VDOT and Transburban announced yesterday regarding the FredEX HOT lanes extension), had the original I-95 HOT lanes PP3 contract been negotiated today, I think the deal would've been far more favorable to the state than it is currently.   
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #2817 on: January 11, 2018, 10:42:25 PM »

I would like to see 4 general purpose lanes on I-95 each way from I-295 to I-495, it certainly is warranted.  But I am sure it would be expensive, 76 miles between I-295 and VA-123 that would need to be widened.  At $20 to $25 million per mile, that would be $1.52 billion to $1.9 billion.
and that's not even including the astronomical compensation the state would have to pay Transburban...
What evidence is there that would be a compensation event?   Even with 4 general purpose lanes each way, there is enough traffic demand that the HOT lanes should continue to get very high usage.
http://potomaclocal.com/2017/01/13/virginia-wont-consider-widening-i-95-blames-express-lanes/
Quote
In a response, the CTB noted it wouldn’t even consider the project because of the negative impacts it could have to the Express Lanes.
“As a result of this review, it has been determined that…[widening] I-95 from Occoquan River bridge to Route 234 is not eligible for the following reasons: The project’s estimate would result in a compensation event for the I-95 Express Lanes…” the letter stated.
Quote
According to an agreement with the state, if there is the talk of widening I-95, Transurban gets the first crack at adding new lanes to Interstate 95, which it would operate as toll lanes. If the company opts not to add new lanes, “[VDOT] may add additional lanes as a department project…such Additional Lanes will constitute a compensation event,” according to a copy of the agreement McCord shared with Potomac Local.
It's a shame because judging by the latest PP3 deals the state has made(like the one VDOT and Transburban announced yesterday regarding the FredEX HOT lanes extension), had the original I-95 HOT lanes PP3 contract been negotiated today, I think the deal would've been far more favorable to the state than it is currently.   

VDOT needs to work through the process and do an in-depth traffic study.  I'll bet that if not already there, they are only a few years away to where traffic growth will rise to where the HOT lanes have high enough usage to where 4th lanes won't affect it negatively.  CTB members are not traffic engineers.

One problem with the 3-lane general purpose roadways, is that the reversible roadway only helps in one direction at a time.  Another problem is that is no wider than when the highway was opened in 1965, and if the reversible roadway is SB then the NB traffic doesn't benefit from it, and vice versa; and in the opposite direction you have no more lanes than was there in 1965.  The HOT lanes don't help the opposite direction, and there are plenty of times including in off-peak hours that 4 lanes are needed.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2018, 10:46:31 PM by Beltway »
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #2818 on: January 12, 2018, 06:20:54 AM »

VDOT needs to work through the process and do an in-depth traffic study.  I'll bet that if not already there, they are only a few years away to where traffic growth will rise to where the HOT lanes have high enough usage to where 4th lanes won't affect it negatively.  CTB members are not traffic engineers.

One problem with the 3-lane general purpose roadways, is that the reversible roadway only helps in one direction at a time.  Another problem is that is no wider than when the highway was opened in 1965, and if the reversible roadway is SB then the NB traffic doesn't benefit from it, and vice versa; and in the opposite direction you have no more lanes than was there in 1965.  The HOT lanes don't help the opposite direction, and there are plenty of times including in off-peak hours that 4 lanes are needed.
Possible ways to increase capacity on the I-95 corridor(At least the Fredricksburg to Woodbridge segment) that I believe would not result in a compensation event:
1. Continuing to widen US-1 to six lanes
2. Adding auxiliary lanes on I-95 between each exit.
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #2819 on: January 12, 2018, 07:39:11 AM »

VDOT needs to work through the process and do an in-depth traffic study.  I'll bet that if not already there, they are only a few years away to where traffic growth will rise to where the HOT lanes have high enough usage to where 4th lanes won't affect it negatively.  CTB members are not traffic engineers.
One problem with the 3-lane general purpose roadways, is that the reversible roadway only helps in one direction at a time.  Another problem is that is no wider than when the highway was opened in 1965, and if the reversible roadway is SB then the NB traffic doesn't benefit from it, and vice versa; and in the opposite direction you have no more lanes than was there in 1965.  The HOT lanes don't help the opposite direction, and there are plenty of times including in off-peak hours that 4 lanes are needed.
Possible ways to increase capacity on the I-95 corridor(At least the Fredricksburg to Woodbridge segment) that I believe would not result in a compensation event:
1. Continuing to widen US-1 to six lanes
2. Adding auxiliary lanes on I-95 between each exit.

Capacity per lane mile per hour is about 800 vehicles on a nonlimited-access highway.  On a freeway, about 2,000 to 2,200.  Widening US-1 would not have much of an effect on I-95.

I-95 needs more thru capacity.  Adding auxiliary lanes on I-95 between each exit would help but would not address that.

I would like to see an in-depth traffic study to see what if any impact would occur to the HOT lanes with 4th lane widening of the general purpose roadways, and on a year to year basis in the future.   Also quantify the cost of a compensation event, make an estimate to see how affordable it would be for VDOT.
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #2820 on: January 12, 2018, 08:47:21 AM »

One problem with adding lanes between, but not through, the interchanges is that you create a pinch point at each interchange as people using the additional lane have to move over and other people try not to let them in.
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #2821 on: January 12, 2018, 09:35:46 AM »

One problem with adding lanes between, but not through, the interchanges is that you create a pinch point at each interchange as people using the additional lane have to move over and other people try not to let them in.

Plus still having 3 lanes of thru capacity.
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #2822 on: January 12, 2018, 10:32:43 AM »

Here's a weird bill pending this year. HB 27 would change the inspection sticker location from the windshield to the rear window in the lower corner on the driver's side. (Recall this year they are switching it from the bottom center of the windshield to the bottom corner on the driver's side.)

I think the rear-window idea is a terrible idea because most vehicle inspectors I've ever seen use a razor blade to remove the sticker. Using a razor blade on the rear window would damage the defroster wires on many vehicles, and I highly doubt most inspectors would be especially careful to avoid causing such damage.

I agree. Also, the rear window space that would be assigned to the inspection sticker (and, I assume, the county/city sticker alongside the inspection sticker) is where my condo association asks residents to place the condo sticker, which seems to be common for condo associations in my area.

On my car, the inspection sticker would go either on the glass hatch window where the defroster wires are, or on the plastic window below the "spoiler" separating it from the glass window, which inspectors' razor blades would scratch up.

I wonder why the inspection and county/city stickers couldn't stay on the front window, but go on the passenger side where they would not distract the driver and obstruct the driver's view over the hood.  I just had a safety inspection on my car, with the new sticker placed in the lower driver's side corner, and the new location is definitely more distracting and obstructive than the old bottom center location.

I'm off work today, so I just spent half an hour composing an e-mail to the members of the House Committee on Transportation and my local legislators asking them to oppose HB 27 because of the "defroster wires" problem and because a rear-window decal would cause visibility problems in cars with small rear windows (such as convertibles, although mine is exempt from inspection due to having antique plates). I acknowledged that the bill is well-intended but argued that it would cause more problems than it would solve. Consider how much harder it is in most vehicles to reach the lower corners of the rear window compared to any portion of the windshield. I highly doubt state inspectors would be willing to stop using their long-handled razor blades, and I doubt the State Police (who are in charge of the safety inspection program) would allow for the use of "static stickers" that are easier to remove because they would be concerned about people fraudulently moving the stickers from car to car.

I suggested that the real solution would be to combine the safety inspection with the registration process, just like they did with the emissions inspection. Get your safety inspection done and have the results transmitted electronically to the DMV before you can renew your registration; as a side benefit, this should eliminate the need for the decals altogether because the fact that your car is currently registered would indicate it passed safety inspection. As I type this paragraph now, though, I see a problem: Registration and emissions inspection are required only every two years (and, if you live in a county or city where emissions inspection isn't required, your registration only has to be renewed every THIRD year if you want to renew for three years). Safety inspection is an annual requirement. That didn't occur to me when I sent my e-mail, and it would pose something of a logistical problem. I don't think it takes away from my overall point about how HB 27 is flawed, though. They ought to give people time to adjust to the new decal location before making changes. The new location has only been in use for twelve days (really eleven, since inspection stations were closed Jan. 1).

If any of you from Virginia have any motivation to e-mail the Committee on Transportation about this bill, I'll give you the members' e-mail addresses. Let me know.
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #2823 on: January 12, 2018, 10:39:57 PM »

I-95 needs more thru capacity.  Adding auxiliary lanes on I-95 between each exit would help but would not address that.
^Agreed which is a large part of why VDOT is actively studying how to improve the US-301/VA-207 corridor as the main alternative for long distance traffic wishing to bypass the Northern Virginia area.
I would like to see an in-depth traffic study to see what if any impact would occur to the HOT lanes with 4th lane widening of the general purpose roadways, and on a year to year basis in the future.   Also quantify the cost of a compensation event, make an estimate to see how affordable it would be for VDOT.
IMHO it wouldn't require an in-depth traffic study to figure out that by adding a 4th lane past Woodbridge, arguably the worst consistent bottleneck in the region and in order to avoid it, a big reason why so many single drivers are willing to pay to use the HOT lanes, Transburban could indeed face a large loss of HOT lanes revenue if it is removed by simply just extending the 4th lane south. The FredEX project will get rid of the Garrisonville and hopefully the Fredricksburg bottlenecks, therefore after 2022 making Woodbridge really the only major one left due to that lane drop.
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #2824 on: January 12, 2018, 11:06:10 PM »

I-95 needs more thru capacity.  Adding auxiliary lanes on I-95 between each exit would help but would not address that.
^Agreed which is a large part of why VDOT is actively studying how to improve the US-301/VA-207 corridor as the main alternative for long distance traffic wishing to bypass the Northern Virginia area.

Unless all of it is freeway between I-95/VA-207 and MD I-695, it won't provide much traffic relief to I-95, if any, considering that MD US-301 in southern MD has at least 50 traffic signals.

I would like to see an in-depth traffic study to see what if any impact would occur to the HOT lanes with 4th lane widening of the general purpose roadways, and on a year to year basis in the future.   Also quantify the cost of a compensation event, make an estimate to see how affordable it would be for VDOT.
IMHO it wouldn't require an in-depth traffic study to figure out that by adding a 4th lane past Woodbridge, arguably the worst consistent bottleneck in the region and in order to avoid it, a big reason why so many single drivers are willing to pay to use the HOT lanes, Transburban could indeed face a large loss of HOT lanes revenue if it is removed by simply just extending the 4th lane south. The FredEX project will get rid of the Garrisonville and hopefully the Fredricksburg bottlenecks, therefore after 2022 making Woodbridge really the only major one left due to that lane drop.

Look, I am a systems analyst and data analyst, and I can't accept a comment like "it wouldn't require an in-depth traffic study".  I want to see a VDOT study of exactly what the impacts would be to the HOT lane usage and the revenue, and quantify exactly what would be the cost of any compensation event.
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