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Cost-saving measures considered for toll road

February 15, 2007|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A spokeswoman for the privately owned Dulles Greenway toll road in northern Virginia said her organization is considering some operational changes to save on the cost of operating the road.

Ann Huggins-Lawler said any cost-saving measures that would be considered would not affect the proposed increase in the toll being sought by operators.

The Dulles Greenway is a 14-mile toll road in the Leesburg, Va., area that many Eastern Panhandle residents use to commute to the northern Virginia area and Washington, D.C., officials said.

Some users of the road have objected to a plan to increase the cost of the toll from $2.70 to $4.80 over the next five years, and U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito has helped lead the opposition to the proposed rate increase.

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The Virginia State Corporation Commission, which will decide whether to allow the increase, held a public hearing on the proposed increase recently in Leesburg.

Capito, R-W.Va., was not able to attend the public hearing, but spoke against the proposed rate increase on the floor of the House of Representatives, Capito spokesman Jordan Stoick said.

The Virginia State Corporation Commission will hold another hearing on the proposed toll increase March 13 in Richmond, Va., and the agency is expected to decide whether to allow the toll increase by midsummer or early fall, Stoick said.

Ken Schrad, spokesman for the Virginia State Corporation Commission, said it is too early to speculate on how the agency might rule on the request.

Huggins-Lawler, spokeswoman for Toll Road Investors Partnership II, said she could not elaborate on cost-saving measures that might be considered for the road because those considerations are being handled by another department in her organization.

Huggins-Lawler defended the toll increase request by saying that the privately owned Dulles Greenway receives no federal or state funding and relies on tolls to pay for maintenance, meet debt requirements and to provide a "reasonable rate of return to the investor."

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