Interstate 66 traffic looking west in Vienna in August. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

In the Dec. 6 Metro article "Va. transport chief defends I-66 tolls," Virginia Transportation Secretary (and apparent Marie Antoinette acolyte) Aubrey Layne noted that "no one has to pay a toll." While it might be just to charge single drivers (at times grossly) excessive fees to commute during previously unavailable times on Interstate 66, it is unconscionable to charge such solo commuters a fee (even if less than $40 one-way) if those drivers continue to inconvenience themselves to time their drives to heretofore earlier or later "allowed" (expanded by 90 minutes and less-congested) road usage hours.

I enthusiastically support creative solutions for improving the efficiency of our crowded roads. I cannot equally support blatant money grabs that punish those who strive to alter their behavior to limit congestion.

William Mullin, Alexandria

There seems to be a misunderstanding. While the new tolls on Interstate 66 have caused alarm, the nature of the issue is being lost. Virginia officials and the media share accountability.

Tolls could be more properly labeled "automated law enforcement." It has been illegal for quite some time for solo drivers to travel on Interstate 66 during designated a.m. and p.m. rush hours.

The new tolls are, in effect, an acknowledgment that the legal restrictions failed. It was not feasible for the combined resources of Arlington County, Fairfax County and Virginia State Police to enforce the high-occupancy-vehicle restrictions effectively. Result: illegal traffic on I-66.

Don't like the tolls? Obey the intention of the HOV policy. Put another person in your vehicle when traveling in traffic- ­challenged time periods.

Mike Sullivan, McLean

I don't know which is worse: paying $40 for a 10-mile drive on Interstate 66 or trying to make sense of the machinations of Virginia's bureaucrats defending this rip-off.

If our elected leaders merely had the spine to raise the federal tax on fuels — 18.4 cents on gasoline and 24.4 cents on diesel, unchanged since 1993 — there would be enough money for highways without listening to these people trying to defend their indefensible Machiavellian policies.

Meanwhile, I think I'll just avoid the commonwealth.

John D. Schulz, Washington