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Private Sector Could Help Relieve Virginia's Congestion Woes

Construction on I-66 could begin in 2017 once a private partner is secured.
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Construction on I-66 could begin in 2017 once a private partner is secured.

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe's plan to widen I-66 from the Beltway to Haymarket by building two toll lanes in each direction is raising questions about how the state is tackling traffic congestion.

The McAuliffe administration is not interested in tolling existing lanes on interstate highways. It is sticking to the strategy used on the 495 and 95 Express Lanes: build new lanes and charge commuters to use them, unless they are carpooling. That's the plan for I-66, one of the worst commuting corridors in the region.

"There is not one answer to how we are going to solve our traffic problems, particularly on long corridors," says Rob Puentes, a transportation policy expert at the Brookings Institution.

But Puentes says Virginia's method of hiring the private sector to finance and build the tolls roads can be part of the answer. "The capital and the resources to construct the facilities have to be found somewhere," he says.

Puentes says the new highway network should help the region exploit the untapped potential of bus rapid transit to move large numbers of commuters. He says there are more than 150 such bus systems around the world, few of them in the United States. Express buses are part of Virginia's plan for 66.

NPR

In Beyoncé's 'Formation,' A Song For The Bama

Beyoncé's latest song is for the black Southern woman, says National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward, who's from Mississippi. It's a message she needed to hear.
WAMU 88.5

Does "Made in DC" Matter?

D.C.'s first bean-to-bar chocolate maker, Undone Chocolate, got its start in local food incubator space Union Kitchen, part of a wave of interest in locally made products which includes a push for a "Made in DC" logo.

WAMU 88.5

Does "Made in DC" Matter?

D.C.'s first bean-to-bar chocolate maker, Undone Chocolate, got its start in local food incubator space Union Kitchen, part of a wave of interest in locally made products which includes a push for a "Made in DC" logo.

NPR

Video Chat Your Way Into College: How Tech Is Changing The Admissions Process

Virtual reality and other innovations are helping international students and colleges tell if they're a good fit.

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