Would you pay $24 to skip major traffic on the roads?

There’s an interesting article in my local newspaper about the fees being associated with the new I-95 “hot lanes” project being built in Northern Virginia.

For those not familiar, I-95 is the major highway running up and down the east coast. Specifically, in northern Virginia – basically the stretch from Fredericksburg, VA to Washington DC – is notorious for traffic delays. From my office in Bethesda, it’s sometimes taken 4-5 hours just to get home. Normally, this route should take a little over an hour. It’s absolutely ridiculous, and is a major reason I would consider moving out of the area at some point – just solely based on the amount of traffic I encounter each day. For many of you, you experience similar circumstances in other parts of the country.

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To alleviate this traffic, an HOV “hot lane” is being built alongside the northern VA I-95 stretch. Essentially, this lane flows north in the morning with commuter traffic and south in the afternoon with commuter traffic. The lane will be free to vehicles with more than 3 occupants, however a solo driver could expect to pay $24 just for a one-way trip. Wow!

Here’s a video showing an overview of the new hot-lanes project:

Now, let me say, the traffic heading north in the morning is absolutely horrendous, so for a Northern VA resident, this fee may be justified in certain times. However, it’s an astronomic cost. Just to avoid the traffic up in the morning and traffic back at night, one can expect to pay close to $50. $50 for a round-trip commute? Yikes.

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I’ll have to seriously contemplate using this hot lane when it opens, but I’m shocked at the sticker price.

So this brings up the question…  Would you pay $24 (or any money for that matter) just to avoid traffic? What is your limit on what you’d pay?


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