The Congestion Pricing Scam

Posted in Privatization, Road Issues, Around The State at 11:06 am by wcnews

(As you read this remember this is what some want to do to Mopac in Austin).

Off The Kuff has a post up on the continuing saga of toll congestion fees, aka “Lexus lanes”, in Harris County, More on tollway congestion pricing. In theory he he has no objection but…

the more I read about the “thinking” behind HCTRA’s recent botched attempt at it, the more I think that the powers that be here don’t have a clue about how to implement it.

Like so many scams, *cough* Amway *cough*, in theory they sound great but in reality…not so much. Via Sal’s link to the HChron article above, that was marked up by CorridorWatch, we learn about what’s really behind congestion pricing.

“Toll roads can’t compete without the presence of congestion and motorist inconvenience on the public highway system,” National Motorists Association president James Baxter wrote on the group’s Web site recently.

The group advocates against various regulatory measures on driving and opposes congestion pricing and toll roads in general.

“Are congestion problems going to be corrected if they threaten the income of the toll road?” Baxter wrote. “Not in our lifetimes!”

It’s a simple as that. Muck up the free roads and force drivers to the toll roads where they can be gouged.

“If you have a commute that should take 18 minutes, and it takes 48, think of the wear and tear on your car, and you may use up half a gallon of gasoline. It reaches a point where it becomes revenue-neutral,” [Harris County Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve Radack] said.

“You pay Exxon or you pay the toll.”

The National Motorists Association (NMA) also has this article up on it’s site on tolls and congestion fees, Toll Roads: The Slippery Slope. Here’s a nugget from that:

Anyone who has used the Illinois toll road system knows how badly a toll system can be operated. Traffic jams, toll booth collisions of epidemic proportions, and continual delays as motorists are forced to stop and deposit forty cents every few miles down the road. I marvel that Illinois motorists don’t demand this system be legislated out of existence. The Illinois tollway serves as a towering example of just how much abuse motorists will endure, without demanding rational change. But, like other toll roads, the more obvious shortcomings may not be the most important. State transportation agencies will universally deny this, but the evidence is there for everyone to see. Toll roads retard the development and increase the deterioration of the rest of the highway system. Upgrades and improvement to any highway viewed as “competing” with the toll road are postponed or ignored. Unnecessary congestion, underposted speed limits and arbitrary enforcement on alternative roads are silently condoned by transportation officials and elected officials. Think about it, toll roads can’t compete without the presence of congestion and motorist inconvenience on the existing highway system. Are these problems going to be effectively addressed if that hurts the income potential of the toll road? Not in our lifetimes!

The withering of non-tolled roads was what Sen. John Carona (R - Dallas) was so concerned about before session, with CDA’s, before he lost his will to turn back the tide on toll roads. The scam is to “voluntarily” force people to drive toll roads, by making the non-tolled options a unpalatable as possible. To maximize toll road receipts, or corporate profits, whichever the case. As always don’t forget that raising the gas tax by a couple of cents and indexing it to inflation can end all of this insanity. We just need some politicians with leadership ability to get it done.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.