A $40 Toll to Drive 10 Miles? It Happened on Virginia’s I-66 | The New York Times

If you took a bus from New York to Washington tomorrow, a 230-mile drive, and then turned around and came back, you still might not spend as much as some Virginians paid on Tuesday to drive there from 10 miles away.

Just after 8 a.m., the price to take the new express lanes on Interstate 66 from the Beltway to downtown Washington reached $40. By the time the morning rush ended at 9:30, the toll was $15.75 — a comparative pittance, but still almost enough for a one-way ticket from New York.

The peak price — which barreled past the $34.50 recorded on Monday, the lanes’ first day of operation — was one of the highest for a toll road anywhere in the United States. But transit officials said the congestion pricing system was working as designed: keeping traffic moving by encouraging people to car-pool or take alternate routes.

From 5:30 to 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, about 12,000 vehicles used the express lanes, and the average speed was 54 miles per hour — much faster than the 37 m.p.h. average in a similar period last December, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation. During the Monday morning rush, the average speed was 57 m.p.h., and drivers were able to cover the nine-mile stretch in 10 to 12 minutes, compared with 15 to 25 minutes on a typical day, the department said.

The toll prices, which change every six minutes, depend on the volume of traffic and the distance traveled. Drivers traveling the full nine miles from the Beltway to downtown Washington around 8 a.m. on Tuesday paid $40, but someone driving in the other direction at 4:15 p.m. would have paid less than $7. The peak price lasted only one six-minute period, the Department of Transportation said.

Read complete article here:

A $40 Toll to Drive 10 Miles? It Happened on Virginia’s I-66 – The New York Times.