Word came yesterday that the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) will raise tolls on the current stretch of 183-A. For a good primer on the issue check out the video below from KXAN last night, Cedar Park toll road rate set to rise. Here’s what one driver said of the increase:
The plan includes the implementation of a previously-scheduled 20-cent toll increase at the Park Street Main Plaza on Jan. 1, 2010.
When the Northern Extension project opens, the Mobility Authority is also proposing a 30-cent toll rate reduction at the same plaza.
” I would hope that it would [go down],” said Charity Wood. “But I’ve seen these things happen before where it doesn’t come back down.”
The Mobility Authority is considering a number of changes to the toll rate schedule for 183A in connection with the Northern Extension project. The first change will involve implementation of a previously planned toll rate increase at the Park Street Main Toll Plaza. As provided for in the original 2005 bond documents for the 183A project, the toll at the Park Street Main Toll Plaza is slated to increase from $1.35 to $1.55 for TxTag customers on January 1, 2010. The increase would only be temporary as the Mobility Authority is proposing to adjust its entire rate schedule when the 183A Extension opens in about two years.
Under the proposed changes, the toll rates at the Park Street Main Toll Plaza would decrease from $1.55 to $1.25 when the extension opens. The Mobility Authority is also planning to implement annual inflation-based toll rate increases beginning in 2013. Annual increases of a few cents each year eliminate the need for larger one-time increases such as the one scheduled for the first of the year. The Mobility Authority Board is expected to consider the proposal at their November 18th meeting. For more information about the proposal click here (PDF). [Emphasis added].
That’s right folks the unelected and unaccountable CTRMA board is scheduled to vote for automatic annual increases at their next meeting. Just wondering if the local Cedar Park “tea partiers” are going to show up at the next board meeting to protest this tax/toll increase. Of course this is, for all intents and purposes, the same thing as a local tax increase. And not a single member of the CTRMA board is accountable to any voters. Just imagine the outcry if this was an actual “tax increase”!!
Of course this is the way this board was always meant to be – insulated from any public pressure or outcry. It’s extremely doubtful too that the tolls will ever go down. Sure the CTRMA will probably try to spin this in 2013 in a way that shows in 2009 dollars the toll actually did go down, but the actual price of the toll will likely never go down. And with a board likely composed of different members by 2013, they will feel no tie to any decisions that were made in 2009.