Provided by Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)
Virginia’s Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) voted Thursday to approve a group of 10 transit and multimodal projects
in Northern Virginia. The projects will be funded by annual transit payments provided by Transurban to the Commonwealth that will begin this fall before 395 Express Lanes tolling gets underway. Supporting mass transit improvements in the I-395 and I-95 corridor are part of the 395 Express Lanes project agreement between the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and Transurban.
The public-private partnership agreement provides an annual transit payment of $15 million, with a yearly escalation, from Transurban to the Commonwealth. The 10 projects that will move forward when the 395 Express Lanes open were selected through a competitive grant application process managed by the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC), under a 68-year partnership among the Commonwealth, NVTC and the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC). By the conclusion of the partnership, Transurban will have funded more than $2 billion in transit improvements.
Commuter Choice Program
“The Commuter Choice program illustrates the Commonwealth’s commitment to creating safe, reliable travel choices across Virginia’s transportation system,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “Multimodal investments along this corridor support the Commonwealth’s economic competitiveness and create a more seamless network for people to access jobs, education, healthcare and opportunity.”
“Thanks to the support of the CTB, we’re expanding the Commuter Choice program and enhancing public transportation in one of the most congested corridors in the nation,” said NVTC Executive Director Kate Mattice. “We’re helping commuters that live and work along I-395/95 get to the places they want to go by adding convenient, reliable choices to the region’s transportation network.”
Improving the Commute
The projects are expected to move an additional 700 people through the corridor each day and save close to 89,000 hours of travel delay each year. For drivers who will occasionally pay a toll to take the 395 Express Lanes, the projects will help provide congestion relief on the general-purpose lanes in addition to expanded public transit options.
“Investing in transportation choices is the key to unlocking congestion in this vital economic corridor,” said Jennifer Aument, President, Transurban North America. “The 395 Express Lanes will not only provide a faster, safer, more reliable trip for our customers but also provide a dedicated source of transit funding to enhance connectivity across the 95 and 395 corridor for generations to come.”
Ninety-three percent of this first round of program funding, or $17.5 million, will support new or enhanced bus services, including bus purchases and other capital improvements. The remainder will support transit incentives, encourage alternate transportation modes like carpooling and support NVTC’s program administration. NVTC will award grants for a 20-month cycle to better align with the organization’s existing grant process, which is why the initially-approved funding exceeds the first yearly transit payment of $15 million.
Commuters can visit expresslanes.com/395
to learn about the enhanced transit services they can use on 395 Express Lanes when the project opens in November.
Commuter Choice on the I-395/95 corridor is designed to support transit and multimodal improvement projects that will move more people, improve mobility, support diverse travel choices and enhance travel reliability along the I-395/I-95 corridor. NVTC also manages the I-66 Commuter Choice program, which has funded a total of 36 projects for $41.5 million, benefiting the I-66 corridor since launching in 2017.