No one could have predicted

Posted in Around The State, Commentary, Road Issues, Transportation, Uncategorized at 5:12 pm by wcnews

In today’s AAS with Ben Wear’s misleading headline, Truck relief on I-35? Maybe a little. The big story is not that truck’s aren’t leaving I-35 to drive SH 130, the big news is, which is almost always the case, the consultants T&R (Traffic and Revenue) numbers are not “paying off”.

The study indicates that the 25 percent lower toll would pull an additional 350 trucks a day to Texas 130. But I-35 at U.S. 183 in North Austin had 24,000 trucks a day in 2007. So the lower toll might remove less than 2 percent of I-35 truck traffic.

What isn’t changing on Texas 130, at least not yet: car tolls, for perhaps five years. And the overall financial picture, painted mostly in shades of red.

The 2002 financial prospectus for investors who put $2.2 billion into Texas 130, Loop 1 and Texas 45 North showed initial toll rates unchanged until 2015, when a 50 percent increase was scheduled. Transportation commissioners have the power to raise rates before then, but they aren’t talking publicly about doing so.

But they might be considering it privately. According to figures from TxDOT Chief Financial Officer James Bass, the three-road system has required $68 million in tax money to balance the books over the first three years.

We’re paying tolls and our tax money is going for these roads too. Who doesn’t feel burned yet by the toll road scheme? Tip to ACREblog, SH 130 in the red-taxpayers making up the difference, with this commentary.

So why is it a good idea to continue to build toll roads where taxpayers will be paying the investors? By the way, ground has been broken on the tolled interchange at 290 East and 183—a tolled interchange being paid for by taxpayer stimulus money.

Anyone who still believes toll roads are the answer to our state’s transportation problem can no longer be taken seriously. Seriously.

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