ALEXANDRIA, Va., March 2, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Transurban announced its third annual contribution of $15 million to the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission’s (NVTC) Commuter Choice program to improve transit services for travelers in the Commonwealth. This payment is the result of an agreement between the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and Transurban, in which Transurban contributes a portion of its 395 Express Lanes toll revenue annually toward transit improvements benefitting the I-395/I-95 corridor over the life of the multi-decade public-private partnership concession. This third payment brings the total investment to more than $45 million since 2019.
“This critical investment in Virginia’s local transit network is helping us further strengthen Virginia’s safe, reliable and equitable transportation system,” said Susan Shaw, P.E., Director, VDOT’s Northern Virginia Megaprojects. “Thanks to our private-sector partnerships, the Commuter Choice program is being optimized, allowing Virginians to get where they need to go – to their jobs, homes, medical centers and other important destinations – while relieving congestion.”
Under an agreement with the Commonwealth, NVTC operates Commuter Choice programs for Transurban’s 395 Express Lanes, as well as for VDOT’s I-66 Inside the Beltway Express Lanes. The program aims to improve the lives of Northern Virginians by supporting the regional economy, increasing mobility options and reducing congestion and emissions.
Transurban’s latest $15 million contribution will primarily support projects in the Alexandria, Fairfax County and Prince William County portions of the I-395/95 corridor, including DASH, FRED Transit and OmniRide, along with the Fairfax County bus service and new park-and-ride options in Prince William and Spotsylvania counties.
VDOT, with the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation and NVTC, launched the first group of multimodal improvement projects under the Commuter Choice program in September 2017. This reinvestment of toll revenue supports transit services and enhancements, roadway improvements and transportation demand strategies, and is an important part of the Commonwealth’s efforts to implement multimodal solutions that reduce congestion and move more people.
Through a competitive grant process, the Commuter Choice programs have awarded more than $92 million to 53 projects in Northern Virginia since 2017, including 28 new and expanded bus routes, the purchase of 40 buses to enable this improved service, nine transit capital improvements such as park and ride expansions and bus stop improvements, five commuter incentive programs and three bikeshare network expansions. The most recent set of 13 projects as part of the 395 Express Lanes Commuter Choice program, approved in June of 2021, will move 2,000 more people through the I-395/95 corridor each day and improve connections between 24 regional activity centers upon full implementation and as travel volumes continue to rebound.
“As we’ve seen in the last two years, reliable transit service remains a vital link to essential jobs in Northern Virginia,” said Canek Aguirre, Chair, NVTC. “Our Commuter Choice program makes thoughtful decisions on how best to support programs where they are needed most. Our region must continue to support the essential workforce that helps keep our economy moving and growing.”
Transurban’s contributions to date have supported the creation of four new bus routes in the I-395/95 corridor and improvements to eight others, as well as two park and ride expansions and a set of incentives to encourage new vanpools. The transit service projects include OmniRide’s first two Stafford County commuter bus routes, which provide fast nonstop travel to the Pentagon and downtown Washington D.C. via the 95 and 395 Express Lanes, and improvements to two local DASH bus routes in Alexandria that now provide 10- to 15-minute all-day service to link travelers to job sites, Metrorail stations and I-395 express bus hubs.
“The future of transportation requires collaboration across multimodal owners to invest in networks that move more people through a breadth of travel choices,” said Amanda Baxter, Senior Vice President, Transurban North America. “Transurban’s annual transit contribution is part of our commitment to bettering the communities we serve, and we are fortunate to see tangible investments being made through the strong stewardship of VDOT and NVTC.”
Transurban operates the 495, 95 and 395 Express Lanes that have saved 7 million customers more than 17 million hours of time since the first segment opened nearly a decade ago. The Express Lanes projects have helped strengthen the Commonwealth’s economy by generating an estimated $7 billion in economic activity, creating 40,000+ jobs during project construction and helping stimulate an economic environment that has attracted some of the world’s largest companies to Northern Virginia.
The Commonwealth of Virginia and Transurban continue to partner to advance mobility solutions as part of their Express Lanes partnership. In addition to the annual 395 Express Lanes transit payment, the 495 Express Lanes Northern Extension (495 NEXT) project will include $5.2 million to purchase an initial fleet of buses and $2.2 million annually to operate a new bus line between Tysons, Virginia and Bethesda, Maryland. The 2.5-mile extension of the 495 Express Lanes north to the George Washington Memorial Parkway is set to begin construction in the first half of 2022. For more information about the specific projects funded by the reinvestment of toll revenue by Transurban on I-395/I-95 and VDOT on I-66 Inside the Beltway, please visit https://novatransit.org/programs/commuterchoice/i395-95commuterchoice/.
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is responsible for building, maintaining and operating the state’s roads, bridges and tunnels. Through the Commonwealth Transportation Board, it provides funding for airports, seaports, rail and public transportation. Virginia has the third-largest state-maintained highway system in the country, behind Texas and North Carolina. Visit Virginiadot.org to learn more.
About Transurban North America
Transurban is one of the world’s largest toll-road operators and developers, working to get people where they want to go, as quickly and safely as possible. By embracing collaboration with government, our public-private partnerships are delivering transformative infrastructure solutions across five markets. In fiscal year 2021, our global customers saved 376,000 hours on average each workday across 2 million trips on our roads with faster, more predictable travel options. With a leading market share of transportation P3 investment in North America, we are pioneering travel solutions like dynamically tolled Express Lanes and are partnering with government to think about the policies, technology and infrastructure that will get you home today and 10 years from now. Learn more about Transurban North America at: Transurban.com | Expresslanes.com | A25.com
About Northern Virginia Transportation Commission
NVTC works to ensure that businesses and residents are served by a high capacity, high quality network of transit systems that allows the region to thrive. It funds and promotes transit in the counties of Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax and Falls Church. NVTC supports five local bus systems (ART, CUE, DASH, Fairfax Connector, Loudoun County Transit), Metro and the Virginia Railway Express. Visit NoVaTransit.org or call 703-524-3322 to learn more.
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