Monday, August 23, 2010

Is It News? Reno Road to Become a Toll Road

Starting October 1, Reno Road (also named 34th Street at the southern end) will become a toll road, the District of Columbia Department of Transportation announced today.

"We're turning Reno Road into a toll road for two main reasons," said William Wheat, DDOT's spokesperson. "First, this will reduce the amount of traffic on this major thoroughfare. If people have to pay to travel on Reno, they're going to drive less, making Reno less congested and safer. Second, this will also reduce the amount of traffic on Reno Road, enabling cars to move faster."

There will be two toll booths. The northern toll booth is being constructed just north of Military Road, rather than at Western Avenue. The reason for a toll both at Military instead of the most northern entrance to Reno is to prevent cheaters from avoiding the toll road by sneaking in at Military Road.

DDOT expects that the annual revenue from the Reno Toll Road will exceed $10 million. "I want to emphasize that this is not designed as a revenue enhancing measure. We are implementing the toll road for safety and traffic reasons," said Wheat. "Revenue is just a byproduct of the tolls."

The southern toll booth is being constructed at Massachusetts Avenue, at the southern entrance to Reno/34th Street. The south toll booth, which is across the street from the entrance to the Vice President's house, will be staffed by a uniformed Secret Service agent. Drivers can expect random security checks at the southern toll booth, due to its proximity to the Vice President's residence.

District of Columbia residents may apply for an annual toll permit for $250, which will permit them to pass through the toll booths wit hout stopping. (The Reno Toll Road will be part of the EZPass system by January.)  The Secret Service has informed DDOT that even with the permit stickers, cars at the southern toll booth may be subject to random inspections.

The initial permits will be available only to District of Columbia residents.

Is It News, by Bill Adler, is All Life Is Local's humor column.  This column originally appeared as a April Fool's joke on the Cleveland Park Listserv.  

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