Manassas – February 9, 2023 – Because of the new lanes’ wide-ranging prospects for economic development across Virginia’s two most populous counties, the Washington Business Journal chose the 66 Express Outside the Beltway facility for its first “On the Road” panel discussion of 2023.
A crowd of over 50 people gathered Feb. 9 inside the Beacon Hall Conference Center at the George Mason University SciTech Campus in Manassas to hear from Luis Vazquez, CEO of I-66 Express Mobility Partners, in a Fireside Chat interview led by WBJ publisher (and 66 Express driver) Alex Orfinger.
Luis talked about the economic development potential the lanes will unlock in Northern Virginia, as well as the differences between the 66 Express Outside the Beltway and other managed-toll facilities in the region. He discussed the various infrastructure improvement projects the Commonwealth is building with EMP’s $579 million concession-fee payment, and EMP’s $800 million subsidy for future mass transit in the I-66 corridor, to be paid over the life of EMP’s 50-year public/private partnership with the Virginia Department of Transportation.
Luis also thanked the local vendors and subcontractors for completing the transformative multi-modal mega-project ahead of schedule, and he noted that trucks and other commercial vehicles are permitted on the lanes, delivering reliable travel times for businesses of all kinds.
“Virginia is a great place for business,” he added.
An all-star panel of local experts in transportation, business, education, and economic development took the stage to discuss the impact of the 66 Express Outside the Beltway in the region. Moderated by WBJ managing editor Michael Neibauer, the panel consisted of Rick Canizales, Prince William County Director of Transportation; Christina Winn, Prince William County Executive Director of Economic Development; Dr. Molly Lynch, Provost of Northern Virginia Community College’s Manassas campus; and Steve Daves, Partner and President of R.W. Murray & Co. in Manassas.
“I think the potential is awesome,” Daves commented. “It’s going to open up this side of Prince William County.”
Canizales noted that approximately $270 million of EMP’s concession to the Commonwealth is funding projects in Prince William. Lynch noted that the enhanced accessibility opens up her campus, and its forthcoming $15 million workforce readiness center, to more students in the region.
“Having these express lanes open makes us more competitive with other regions,” said Winn.