CAMPO Leaning Toward More Tolls

Posted in Central Texas, Privatization, Road Issues at 4:36 pm by wcnews

AAS reporting, Board leaning toward tolls for five Austin roads. Leaning? EOW thinks the decision has already been made.

A scaled-back plan to expand and put tolls on four Austin highways, and build a fifth tollway from scratch, drew cautious support today from the board charged with making Central Texas transportation decisions.The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization board will make a final decision Oct. 8 on the five roads, which have been a source of controversy since 2004.

“We need to be continuously very forthright and upfront,” said Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty, a CAMPO board member who had opposed the 2004 toll plan. “We don’t have the dollars to do this without tolls.”

Bob Daigh, the Austin district engineer for the Texas Department of Transportation, told the CAMPO board that he can build the five tollways — while maintaining free passage along the same rights-of-way — for $1.45 billion. The roads, which would constitute the area’s second wave of tollways after five have opened or initiated construction in the past year, are U.S. 290 in Northeast Austin, U.S. 183 in East Austin, Texas 71 in Southeast Austin, U.S. 290 and Texas 71 in Oak Hill and the proposed Texas 45 Southwest. The expressway portions of Texas 71 and U.S. 183 opened in the past year, will remain free to drivers under the plan.

In other words ALL new roads will be tolled, none of the roads that are already built will be tolled. Without new leadership this will continue.

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