Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Billion Dollar Question

This is the DFW region's 30 year transportation plan. Will this plan make DFW businesses less competitive with companies located in other parts of the state which do not rely on toll roads to raise revenue for state highway construction and maintenance?
[Click on images to enlarge]

During the 30 years (2000-2030) the RTC (Regional Transportation Commission of the NTCOG) and TxDOT propose to add 675 miles of managed lanes (TOLL FREEWAYS and TOLLED HOV LANES on existing Freeways) in the DFW region.

They only propose adding 70 additional miles of NON-TOLLED FREEWAYS! They are planning to sign 50 year contracts for these tolled managed lanes and toll roads! EXEMPTING DFW from the 2 year moratorium is BAD if this is the BEST THEY HAVE TO OFFER!

The legend is hard to read. It says that:

Green is proposed New Toll ways.

Blue is proposed extensions of existing freeways/toll ways
or improving existing highways/freeways
by adding HOV toll lanes.

Black is freeways/toll ways.

Red is non-tolled freeways.

From 2000 to 2030 the Regional Transportation Plan for DFW:

200025 miles of existing toll roads built and managed by public toll authority
2030675 miles of managed lanes and toll road under CDAs
(Public private partnerships with 50 year contracts
financed at higher rates than public bond and with higher tolls
to generate "SURPLUS TOLL REVENUE" for investor return
on investment (profit) and up-front payments to the
RTC for use on non-toll projects).

Will citizens in this area pay more than their fair share for highway construction?
Will they have to pay their fair share of state gasoline and other taxes which builds roads in other regions while still having to pay high tolls to travel in their own region?
Is utilizing state highway right-of-way (real estate) for tolled lanes adjacent to public highway lanes which are insufficient to handle the traffic the best way to address traffic congestion?

In California, during rush hour traffic, managed HOV toll lanes carry too few cars while public lanes are much too congested. Should we adopt the same model here?

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