Interim Director Scott York's Testimony to the State Corporation Commission (SCC) Opposing the Proposed Greenway Toll Increases
June 30, 2020
Regarding: TRIP II’s proposed toll increases
Thank you for the opportunity to submit oral testimony regarding case number PUR-201900218 - Toll Road Investors Partnership II.
My name is Scott York, I’m Interim Executive Director for the Committee for Dulles, and I’m the former Chairman of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, having served from 2000 thru 2015.
The Committee for Dulles was founded in 1966 and has over 60 members comprising of businesses, non-profits, and individuals. Our mission is to support the economic vitality of Washington Dulles International Airport and the growth of its operations. We also support the growth of the region’s economy, particularly around the airport environs.
The Committee for Dulles opposes the request by TRIP II for toll rate increases for the following reasons.
1. The proposed increase of 6 percent over the next 5 years for a total increase of 30 percent will continue to push more people away from using the Greenway, particularly now. Unfortunately, most businesses and individuals are dealing with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Director of Loudoun County Economic Development, Buddy Rizer, stated in a Dulles Chamber webinar that they estimate about 25 percent of the businesses in Loudoun will not be able to make a comeback from the shutdown. The airline industry alone is looking at a recovery period of two years to return to where that industry was pre-COVID. Many employees working at Dulles have either lost their jobs, been placed on furlough, or have had their hours reduced by as much as 50 percent. For the hotel industry serving Dulles and Loudoun County, the story is much the same. Any rate increases, if passed, should be held off until at least 2022, allowing for the area to recover economically from the pandemic.
2. The 6 percent per year increase for 5 years is extreme when you consider the average rate of inflation in the U.S. for the last five years was 1.554 percent for a five-year total of 7.77 percent. There is no justification for Trip II’s request.
3. The Greenway is a major part of the Loudoun County road network. It was intended to provide a faster alternative from east to west at an affordable rate. It was also intended to help alleviate congestion on local roads. However, the road is not affordable, and if this proposal is approved, it will get 30 percent worse over the next 5 years. The net result of the past price hikes has already pushed traffic away from the Greenway and onto the local roads, which forces Loudoun County and the state to mitigate traffic congestion at taxpayer’s expense. Even the Witness for Loudoun County, Webb and Roden, shows that Loudoun County’s population has increased significantly since 2005, while Greenway traffic has decreased, and traffic on major alternatives like Routes 7, 28, and 50 increased. Drivers are determining that any benefits offered by using the Greenway is no longer worth the price.
To conclude, the Committee for Dulles respectfully requests that the SCC deny TRIP II’s rate increase request for the reasons stated. The Committee for Dulles does request and encourage Trip II to be a part of the regional transportation solution and lower its tolls to encourage increase usership of the Greenway.
Thank you again for allowing me the opportunity to speak today on this important issue. May you have a wonderful 4th of July.