Monday, April 1, 2013

For whom the road tolls...

Tolls pushed again for S/SW Austin
No one says that traffic is light in S. and SW Austin or that roadways built in the past lacked a futuristic insight of what traffic would be today.  And we all know that money is tight.  However, building more toll roads is a poor condition of meeting the demands at this point in time.
These days toll roads are usually the proposed cure for traffic issues and it is a big mistake.  Number 1 of several reasons is that it places our roads in the hands of a few regulators who think they know what is best for the community and gives them too much power & control.  They can raise or lower toll costs at any given time and for no reason at all if they wish.
The proposed underpass at MoPac and Slaughter is needed, just as the already built overpass at MoPac and William Cannon was needed and built several years ago.  At that time the authorities wanted to toll that overpass, but various people and groups banded together and refused to permit the tolling and they were in the right legally.  So, today, cars can use the overpass without paying any tolls.
That overpass would NEVER have been built had the authorities known beforehand that tolls would not be permitted.  It was a big mistake for them having built it first without the authority to toll it.  Be sure it won't happen again.  When they build the Slaughter underpass tolls will be collected.
However, you can't continue to toll people into the poor house.  Road building monies need to come from other sources besides tolling drivers and/or issuing road bonds that overburden homeowners.  Eventually, people can't afford to be tolled on every roadway and like the current issue with the newly built Hwy 130, "If you build it, that does NOT mean they will come [to use it]."
Bottom-line is that most roads should NOT be tolled, while a few could be.

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