495 Express Lanes
In the early 2000’s, VDOT began advancing plans for a traditional highway expansion to help address growing congestion on the Capital Beltway in Virginia. The plan faced significant opposition from the community. It was unaffordable, required the destruction of more than 350 homes and businesses, and did not provide the transit options needed to support a growing Tysons business district.
In 2002, the private sector proposed an alternative under the Public Private Transportation Act – build four new high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes that would expand capacity and deliver new travel choices, including a network for buses and carpools. VDOT embraced the plan. A partnership with the private sector and tolling would help VDOT deliver improvements more quickly and with fewer tax dollars, provide new travel choices, and reduce impacts on the community and the environment. In fact, the new approach would reduce home impacts from 350 to just eight.
VDOT advanced a competitive procurement, series of environmental reviews, and public engagement process for the new project. In 2005, local leaders voted to include HOT lanes as part of the region’s long-range transportation plan.
In 2007, VDOT finalized a long-term partnership agreement with Capital Beltway Express, LLC – a consortium led by Transurban that would design, build, operate, finance and maintain the $2 billion HOT lanes project. Transurban and its partners provided a substantial upfront equity commitment to help fund construction and financed the rest of the project through private activity bonds and a TIFIA loan. The partnership enabled Virginia to leverage private capital to translate every one state tax dollar into four dollars of transportation improvements.
Construction, managed by Fluor-Lane, began in 2008 and the new lanes opened for business in 2012.
In 2014, Transurban invested an additional $280 million of equity to put the project on solid financial footing following impacts of the global financial crisis. The private sector has assumed the long-term financial risk for the project, including full responsibility to pay back all project debt.
95 Express Lanes
The 95 Express Lanes project is the result of more than 10 years of planning, environmental review, competitive procurement and public engagement.
In 2004, Virginia received multiple proposals under the Public-Private Transportation Act to improve mobility in the heavily congested I-95/395 corridor. An independent review panel evaluated the proposals and recommended that the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) partner with 95 Express Lanes, LLC – a consortium comprised of Transurban and Fluor. In 2006, VDOT finalized an interim agreement with the consortium to design, build, finance, operate and maintain new high occupancy toll lanes.
In 2007, the Transportation Planning Board – including representatives from local governments throughout the region – voted to include the 95 Express Lanes in the region’s Financially Constrained Long-Range Plan.
Over the next several years, VDOT completed a series of environmental reviews for the project and continued to refine the project scope. In 2009, Arlington County filed a lawsuit related to the project. In response, VDOT chose to advance improvements across Stafford, Prince William and Fairfax Counties – deferring planned improvements inside the Beltway on I-395 in Arlington County.
In 2012, VDOT finalized it long-term contract with 95 Express Lanes, LLC. Transurban and its partners made a substantial upfront equity commitment to fund construction of the new lanes and secured financing through private activity bonds and a loan from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s TIFIA program. Through this partnership, Virginia was able to leverage private investment to deliver a nearly $1 billion project for only $82 million.
Construction, managed by Fluor-Lane, began in 2012 and the new lanes opened to travelers in 2014.
VDOT will maintain ownership of I-95 and oversee all 95 Express Lanes activities. The private partner has assumed traffic and revenue risk for the project, including full responsibility to pay back all project debt.