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Prominent Va. Republican and Democrat Criticize Arlington HOT Lanes Lawsuit

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By David Schultz

Two prominent members of the Virginia General Assembly are criticizing the Arlington County Board for its lawsuit blocking the I-95 HOT lanes project.

The lawsuit - filed by the all-Democratic County Board - claims HOT lanes on I-95 will hurt the environment and will disproportionately benefit wealthy, white suburbanites.

(HOT lanes are similar to carpool lanes, but solo drivers can also access them by paying a toll.)

House Speaker William Howell, a Republican from Fredericksburg, and Senate President Pro Tem Charles Colgan, a Manassas Democrat, call the lawsuit "outrageous."

In a letter to the County Board, the two lawmakers say Arlington is asserting a "racist conspiracy."

Arlington Chairman Jay Fisette says this is misdirection.

"Arlington's critics have really attempted to distract everyone by focusing on the environmental justice parts of the suit," Fisette says, "and ignoring the real threats the project poses to the efficient and effective transportation of people in the corridor."

Meanwhile, the mayor of Alexandria and the Fairfax County Chairman joined Fisette last week in a letter to the Governor raising concerns about the project.

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