VIRGINIA

Angela Petry makes song against Dulles Greenway tolls

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A song released on the web Monday appeals to cash strapped drivers who use the Dulles Greenway.

It's called "Highway Robbery."

Angela Petry authored the tune and says it's time to roll back the tolls. The West Virginia woman practically had to do a double take when she checked a recent credit card statement after her husband's drive to DC.

It cost her family $5.55 for a ride through the 14-mile Dulles Greenway and the Dulles Toll Road, and then another $5.55 for the journey back.

Eleven dollars later, Petry put her frustrations in a song.

It didn't take long for the words to roll off Petry's tongue.

"Highway robbery...," she sings. "They built a road in the countryside. Rolling green hills for miles and miles. The farms and the fields no factory, but don't you dare think you can drive for free..."

The singer-song writer is tired of watching her bank account dwindle from toll fees.

"We think that it's really unfair that there's this major road that cuts right through the center of the county, right through the countryside and that the local people have so much trouble and expense using it," Petry says.

The $4.80 fee during peak hours means it costs drivers 34 cents per mile. Congressman Frank Wolf, who represents Virginia's 10th District, is also fighting that price tag. 

Wolf's frustrations became Petry's inspiration.

"He used that word 'highway robbery,' and it was just something that jumped out at me...," Petry explains. "...We just started messing around with the words and the song kind of sprang out of that."

Governor Bob McDonnell issued the following statement.

"The Dulles Greenway is the only privately-owned and operated toll road in the Commonwealth. Tolls on the Greenway are regulated by the State Corporation Commission through its public rate making process. The Virginia Department of Transportation has no legal ability to set or control tolls on the Greenway."

But that won't stop Petry from at least trying to roll back the tolls herself.

A spokeswoman for the Australia-based company that owns the Greenway declined to comment.

However, some of the toll fees are reserved for charity.

Once a year the "Drive for Charity" gives all the money collected on a single day to local Loudoun County charities. Last year, that amounted to more than $261,000.

As for the other 364 days, the Macquarie Group declined to detail how that money is spent.

A petition has been established online where people can call on lawmakers to help roll back the toll fees.

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