Northam Signs Greenway Bill

Gov. Ralph Northam has signed into law legislation designed to curb toll increases on the Dulles Greenway.

The bill, introduced by Del. Suhas Subramanyam (D-87) and Sen. John J. Bell (D-13), has many elements of bills introduced and killed every year since 2015 by then-Del. David I. Ramadan, Subramanyam’s predecessor. It gives the State Corporation Commission more clearly defined parameters for ruling on the Greenway’s requests for higher tolls.

Under the law governing the Greenway, toll increases should not discourage use of the highway. The new law seeks to create measurable standards for evaluating whether proposed toll increases would discourage motorist from taking the road. It also would allow debt refinancing only if it when necessary to operate, maintain, or expand the road and would not increase toll rates—a measure seeking to close a loophole that allowed the Greenway to amass around a billion dollars in outstanding debt and count that against its profitability.

If the Greenway seeks to stay privately owned beyond 2056, it must make financial disclosures and have at least a BBB- bond rating from a major credit ratings agency, the lowest investment-grade rating. Currently none of the three major bond ratings agencies rate the Greenway that highly.

And the bill would also limit the Greenway to apply for toll increases one year at a time. The SCC is currently deliberating a request from the Greenway, filed before the law, that would see five years of toll increases.

2 thoughts on “Northam Signs Greenway Bill

  • 2021-04-21 at 5:16 pm

    It’s hard to get excited about this after decades of abusive tolls.

    As sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, TRIP II will find a way to cook the books and ensure more toll hikes for the foreseeable future.

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