It's not been a mystery that Washington, D.C. has long tried to impose a commuter tax that would hit motorists arriving from Virginia and Maryland who take transit or drive into DC to work, but now city leaders have found a way.
The U.S. Court of Appeals had already ruled back in 2005 that the city wasn't allowed to impose a tax without approval from Congress, which was and is unlikely. This comes as both Virginia and Maryland have increased the use of tolls on major roads in the last decade, and suddenly DC figured out that they too, could be using tolls for revenue.
Authorities in Washington, D.C. have proposed to toll I-295, I-395, and I-695, which are routes heavily trafficked by commuters. The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board discussed the project at a meeting a couple weeks ago, saying "the proposed network provides access into and through the District for resident of the District, Virginia and Maryland."
The proposed project would be relatively simple, as it wouldn't construct any new roads, but simply install toll devices along the routes to collect toll income. Because of the simplicity, the first phase would be run by D.C. and start as soon as possible, with additional toll devices coming down the road.
According to a report, the operation and yearly maintenance costs could be $263k for I-395 to $545k for I-295. The expected revenue of $20.5 million for the first year would pay the $14.5 capital expenses. By 2050, revenue would climb to $97.4 million, and have raised a total $1.2 billion.