Gilmore Announces Commuter Incentive Program

Posted: August 30, 2000 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Gov. Jim Gilmore signed an executive order last week designed to increase use of public transportation in Northern Virginia. He also implemented new measures to move area commuter traffic more efficiently and unveiled a website for the Capital Beltway Rail Project. The executive order establishes a new benefit program called Commonwealth Commuter Choice to encourage state agency employees to commute by public transportation or van pool.

“This new program exemplifies how the commonwealth can give state employees more commuting options,” says Gilmore. “I hope the private sector will join me in looking for other such strategies to enhance the quality of life in our state. I am committed to exploring new ways to help relieve congestion in the northern part of Virginia.”

The program will pay a maximum of $65 per month to employees commuting by public transit or van pool. Benefits will be distributed to employees monthly in the form of “Metrocheks,” which can be used on all forms of public transportation in the area, including van pools. The new program takes effect on Oct. 1, 2000 and covers all full-time employees north of and including Fredericksburg. It affects 52 state agencies and institutions, including George Mason. Agencies will be given the option of offering the benefit to part time employees as well.

Additionally, Gilmore announced two initiatives to speed up commuter traffic in the area. The first is to increase the speed limit from 55 to 65 miles per hour on High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) commuter lanes that are separated from the traffic flow by physical barriers. This initiative requires completion of a feasibility study by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), expected in October, and legislative approval by the

General Assembly. This initiative would affect I-95 from Prince William County to Springfield and I-395 from Springfield to the Potomac River. It would also affect all lanes of I-66 inside the Capital Beltway during HOV commuter hours.

The second initiative is to leave open the HOV ramp from eastbound I-66 to the Capital Beltway. Presently that ramp is open only during HOV commuter hours. This initiative will be implemented by Oct. 1, 2000.

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