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Alternative plans for Trans-Texas Corridor take shape
The Cameron Herald ^ | March 3, 2005 | Curtis Chubb

Posted on 03/03/2005 3:19:24 PM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks

The Texas Department of Transportation is continuing its work on the Trans-Texas Corridor which may have a major impact on Milam County.

Although it started out as Rick Perry's dream in 2002, it is quickly becoming reality.

The 'Corridor' that may have a direct effect on Milam County has been named TTC-35 because it extends from Oklahoma to Mexico and parallels I-35.

TTC-35 would be up to 1,200-feet wide and have six lanes for passenger vehicles and four lanes for trucks. Also, it would include six rail lines and a 200-foot utility zone. TTC-35 would be 800 miles long.

In the Trans-Texas Corridor web site (www.transtx.com), TxDOT states the following: "The original study area was approximately 50-60 miles wide. Through environmental studies and the public scoping meetings held in Spring 2004, the study area was refined. The study area now includes all or portions of 77 Texas counties. Several corridor alternatives were discussed during public meetings held Oct. 19 - Nov.18.

Another round of public meetings is scheduled for Feb. 7- March 29 as evaluation of possible routes for the Oklahoma-Mexico/ Gulf Coast (TTC-35) continues."

The map accompanying this article reveals the routes under consideration at present that affect Milam County. The map is also available on the CorridorWatch.org web site (http://corridorwatch. org/ttc/index.htm).

CorridorWatch.org estimates that TTC-35 could require 5,800 acres of Milam County land to build.

If you want to provide input about TTC-35, you may want to contact your state representatives and senators.

And you may want to attend the TxDOT Public Meeting about TTC-35 on March 3 in Rockdale at the Patterson Civic Center. The meetings are held in an open-house format from 5 to 8 PM.

The TTC-35 corridor alternatives in and near Milam County are identified as CA, CB, CC, CD, CE, and CF. A picture of the entire length of TTC-35 can be seen on the Corridor Watch.org web site.

Find out more!
There will be a public meeting regarding the Corridor Thursday, March 3, 5-8 p.m. at the Patterson Civic Center in Rockdale.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Government; News/Current Events; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: agreement; cintra; contract; corridorwatch; gabrielagarcia; i35; ih35; lease; milamcounty; rails; rickperry; texas; tollroads; tolls; transtexascorridor; ttc; ttc35; txdot; utilities; zachry

The eastern edge of the eastern-most proposed route of the Trans-Texas Transportation Corridor (TTC-35) could brush the Cameron City Limits on the west.

1 posted on 03/03/2005 3:19:26 PM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
And from KCEN-TV:

Temple citizens asked for opinons on superhighway

March 1, 2005

A public meeting was held Tuesday night in Temple for the proposed Trans-Texas Corridor.

Citizens were asked to give their input on where they think the superhighway should be built.

The proposed 182-billion-dollar system of roads is expected to alleviate congestion on I-35. The biggest concern for residents is just where it will be built.

Some models have the highway running near temple..while other plans have it five-to-ten miles away from the city.

Gabby Garcia with TxDOT says, "Tonight's all about public input, it's all about getting their comments, learning and listening from what they have to say, what their issue are, what their concerns are, taking all that back into the analysis, environmental analysis and determining that later on, probably sometime next fall where this actually could go."

TxDOT will hold many more public meetings to guage the public's interest on the future of Texas roads and where they should be built.

2 posted on 03/03/2005 3:24:16 PM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks (Deport 'em all; let fox sort 'em out!)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
And, this perhaps overly-optimistic item from the Heartland Institute:

Three Lessons in Highway Privatization

Written By: Robert W. Poole, Jr.
Published In: Budget & Tax News
Publication Date: March 1, 2005
Publisher: The Heartland Institute


1. At the very time state Departments of Transportation (DOTs) are desperately short of funds for highway investment, global capital markets are awash with capital for economically sound highway projects. Wise governments will take advantage of this.

2. Long terms (50- to 99-year leases) make it feasible for the private sector to pay significantly more for a highway project, because of the potential of large long-term gains. This applies not only to existing assets such as the $1.8 billion Chicago Skyway deal, but also to new projects.

In December 2004, the Texas DOT selected the winning bidder to develop the first Trans-Texas Corridor. CINTRA--an international group of engineering, construction, and financial firms--has committed $7.2 billion for this project, of which $6 billion will be used to construct the 316-mile, four-lane toll road. The other $1.2 billion is a franchise fee, to be paid to the Texas DOT over the decade or more of construction, in exchange for the right to charge tolls for 50 years.

3. Although the idea of investor-owned highways strikes people as odd, because it's unfamiliar, it is no more radical than investor-owned electric utilities or investor-owned telecommunication firms. All are vital elements of infrastructure that we use every day. The long U.S. history of success with investor-owned utilities (contrasted with state-owned utilities in most other countries for most of the twentieth century) should give us confidence that the market can handle highways, too.


Robert Poole (bobp@reason.org) is director of transportation studies and founder of Reason Foundation.

3 posted on 03/03/2005 3:30:32 PM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks (Deport 'em all; let fox sort 'em out!)
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To: TxDOT; 1066AD; 185JHP; Abcdefg; Alamo-Girl; antivenom; anymouse; B-Chan; barkeep; basil; ...

Trans-Texas Corridor PING!


4 posted on 03/03/2005 3:33:06 PM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks (Deport 'em all; let fox sort 'em out!)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

CorridorWatch.org estimates that TTC-35 could require 5,800 acres of Milam County land to build.



Does the web site claim the above figure of 5,800 arcres? I don't know as I don't frequent it... I like to think the news writer made a mistake but then who knows when the fight takes place....


5 posted on 03/03/2005 3:43:33 PM PST by deport (You know you are getting older when everything either dries up or leaks.)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
Gabby Garcia with TxDOT says, "Tonight's all about public input, it's all about getting their comments, learning and listening from what they have to say, what their issue are, what their concerns are, taking all that back into the analysis, environmental analysis and determining that later on, probably sometime next fall where this actually could go."

Its all about facilitation and consensus.
6 posted on 03/03/2005 3:44:21 PM PST by hedgetrimmer
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To: deport

I'll bet that a lot of the East-West roads that the corridor crosses will be terminated at the junction of the road with the corridor. There will be no bridges built to cross the corridor to resume travel on the other portion of the road. I smell a rat.


7 posted on 03/03/2005 3:49:55 PM PST by ArtyFO
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To: ArtyFO

Small villages and families will be isolated by the corridor. Ambulances and firefighters will not have quick access to isolated areas made by the corridor.


8 posted on 03/03/2005 3:57:38 PM PST by ArtyFO
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To: ArtyFO

People will have to travel several miles to cross the corridor at a convenient (for the road owners/builders) crossing point.


9 posted on 03/03/2005 4:00:58 PM PST by ArtyFO
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To: ArtyFO

I"m sure some will be.... Especially the smaller two lane roads just above a dirt/gravel type road. But I suspect most FM/State/US/etc roads will be routed over or under.... We'll see as the plans develop.


10 posted on 03/03/2005 4:05:28 PM PST by deport (You know you are getting older when everything either dries up or leaks.)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
"3. Although the idea of investor-owned highways strikes people as odd, because it's unfamiliar, it is no more radical than investor-owned electric utilities or investor-owned telecommunication firms."

If that were true, the country would be crisscrossed with private highways. This is one BIZZIARE concept, and I just wish the druggies at Reason could find another state to try out their experiments on (like California). Until recently Texas did quite well with its freeway system.

As far as the comparison to investor-owned utilities are concerned. That's fine, I would only wish they'd complete the analogy by explaining that utilities that are given monopoly protection are also highly regulated. The utilities are not free to charge their customers whatever they can squeeze out of them, while this insane toll road scheme could give Cintra full authority over the tolls it charges to drivers - just like they have in Canada.
11 posted on 03/03/2005 4:40:07 PM PST by BobL
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
"1. At the very time state Departments of Transportation (DOTs) are desperately short of funds for highway investment, global capital markets are awash with capital for economically sound highway projects. Wise governments will take advantage of this."


One or the other, ehhh. Well how about some middle ground. Instead of inviting Cintra over here to rape Texas drivers for the purpose of building more condos on the French Riviera (for their investors), why doesn't the state of Texas simply build the roads itself - as toll roads (if the governor really tolls to satisfy some craving he has). After all, capital is capital, and if all this money is looking for an investment, why not have the state do it? Then at least the money stays in the state and could maybe be used to offset other taxes or build new roads.

Better yet, build them as freeways, using the state to guarantee payment. That makes the bonds tax free, so their interest rate can be much lower, and it also eliminate tolling, which cuts the cost of the highway by at least 1/3.

But to Mr. Poole, none of that matters - he, no doubt has an extra $5,000 or more of extra cash lying around (per year), so he's not really affected by these tolls. But if the roads are built quickly, he does get to drive on them. And that is probably the bottom line - he's one of a bunch of people that have more money than they know what to do with, who simply want their own highways - they're sick of having to drive around with us "little people".
12 posted on 03/03/2005 4:50:05 PM PST by BobL
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To: BobL

i was thinking about this today, driving down the freeway:

how much would you have to increase the gasoline taxes to pay for this? bonds issued, etc.

why do we have to make some people richer at the expense of taxpayers.

what if the gasoline was $3.50 a gallon? $4.00?

fine.


13 posted on 03/03/2005 5:02:45 PM PST by ken21 ( warning: a blood bath when rehnquist, et al retire. >hang w dubya.< dems want 2 divide us.)
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To: ken21
"how much would you have to increase the gasoline taxes to pay for this? bonds issued, etc."

To build new freeways at a reasonable clip, an increase of about 20 cents per gallon for gasoline would do the trick. That would bring in roughly $3 Billion per year, and allow about 250 miles of new 6-lane freeway to be built (in rural areas). Using that formula, you could complete much of the TTC in about 16 years.

The nice thing about the gas tax is that everyone who drives pays, not just the people who use it. And no one gets to rob the drivers blind (like Cintra continues to do in Canada).

Building these highways as freeways would virtually assure no more traffic jams in Texas - but if you build them as toll roads, so many trucks and cars will be pushed on to what's left of the crubling freeways that everyone (except the filthy rich) will suffer.
14 posted on 03/03/2005 5:09:36 PM PST by BobL
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To: BobL

where do i sign the petition?


15 posted on 03/03/2005 5:10:38 PM PST by ken21 ( warning: a blood bath when rehnquist, et al retire. >hang w dubya.< dems want 2 divide us.)
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To: ken21
"what if the gasoline was $3.50 a gallon? $4.00?"

You start hitting (actually exceeding) those numbers when you drive on Cintra roads (figuring their tolls as added gas tax).

For example, if your car gets 20 miles per gallon, Cintra charges 22 cents per mile, and gas is at $2.00 per gallon - your equivalent gasoline price (after factoring in tolls) comes in at $6.40 per gallon (or close to $100 to buy 15 gallons of gas).

Now you're starting to make me think that the toll road advocates in Austin may just be reincarnated people who always felt that we pay too little for gas in this country (versus Europe), and this is just their (indirect) way of making us pay world-class prices to drive.
16 posted on 03/03/2005 5:15:15 PM PST by BobL
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To: BobL

i just threw the $3.50 and $4.00 figures out as a what-if?

i have no idea what the cost would be.

i was pleasantly surprised at your 20 cents per gallon.

if it could be done that cheaply, then why not?

no doubt the "keep austin weird" people should be re-named:

"keep austin stupid and on the democrat plantation".


17 posted on 03/03/2005 5:19:37 PM PST by ken21 ( warning: a blood bath when rehnquist, et al retire. >hang w dubya.< dems want 2 divide us.)
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To: ken21
"where do i sign the petition?"

Tell the Austin people!! If they would just do the math, we could solve this problem once and for all.

But I really think that there is a (legitimate) concern about being labeled as tax increasers, simply because they raise the gas tax enough to cover for 15 years of inflation and non-highway diversions. There are a lot of Republicans that will slam any increase in any taxes (even if it's for a true need), no matter what. I think they're as much of the problem as anyone on this issue. They need to step up to the problem and help solve it, rather than making a bunch of European investors rich, at our expense.
18 posted on 03/03/2005 5:20:17 PM PST by BobL
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks; Diddle E. Squat; deport; maui_hawaii; Ben Ficklin; zeugma; MeekOneGOP; ...
Pro TTC Ping!

This is a pro Trans-Texas Corridor ping list.

Please let me know by Freepmail if you want on or off the list.

19 posted on 03/03/2005 5:27:33 PM PST by Paleo Conservative (Hey! Hey! Ho! Ho! Andrew Heyward's got to go!)
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A map of possible alternatives for TTC-35.


20 posted on 03/03/2005 5:28:05 PM PST by Paleo Conservative (Hey! Hey! Ho! Ho! Andrew Heyward's got to go!)
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Here are some links various Freepers have posted on other Trans Texas Corridor (TTC) threads on Free Republic



Paleo Conservative


Free Republic search on keyword "TTC"

Interview (Audio) NPR | February 8, 2005 A Superhighway for Texas?



Diddle E. Squat


Here's the website with more info and explanation:

http://www.keeptexasmoving.org/

Here's a list of meetings where you can ask questions(and I encourage everyone who can to attend and ask questions)

http://www.keeptexasmoving.org/pdfs/TTC-35_Public_Meetings.pdf

Here's a link to the map of the TTC-35 corridor alternatives, which are approximately 10 miles wide study areas (the actual selected single corridor will be at most 1/4 mile wide):

http://www.keeptexasmoving.org/pdfs/TTC- 35_Alternatives_Map.pdf



Ben Ficklin

The Oklahoma Extension

La Entrada al Pacifico

1990-2000 Population Growth of Border Metro Areas

Bidders for TTC contract

NHS High Priority Corridors

Texas Sets the Pace in Highway Finance

Ray Perryman's Economic Benefit Analysis Of TTC



maui_hawaii

Port of Houston teams up with Panama to draw a piece of Asia's massive trade away from West Coast

21 posted on 03/03/2005 5:28:28 PM PST by Paleo Conservative (Hey! Hey! Ho! Ho! Andrew Heyward's got to go!)
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To: BobL

i am FOR building freeways.

but i don't think we should make some billionaires richer at the expense of working america.


22 posted on 03/03/2005 5:33:33 PM PST by ken21 ( warning: a blood bath when rehnquist, et al retire. >hang w dubya.< dems want 2 divide us.)
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To: ken21
"i was pleasantly surprised at your 20 cents per gallon."

The 20 cents was based on a number used by Perry's own people. Specifically, the guy said that it costs about $2 Million to build a lane-mile of rural freeway. Thus it costs $12 Million per mile to build a 6-lane freeway. 20 cents more per gallon will bring in about $3 Billion per year - however, our state Constitution requires the diversion of one quarter of the 20 cents to "the schools", so we would lose quite a bit there (in fact, the current state gas tax of 20 cents per gallon also loses 5 cents to "the schools"). So to get 20 cents for freeways probably requires closer to 26 cents of gas tax - but then the state has a little extra money to play with for other uses, so maybe (just MAYBE), they could drop our sales tax a bit. But the bottom line is that they money stays in Texas.

One other thing, this 20 (or 26) cent increase would do nothing to help with local city traffic. In that case, it cost much more to add lanes - often 10 times as much. However, building rural freeways could at least give long-distance travelers a way to avoid the cities, and thus help the cities a bit there.

This is particularly true in Austin. Right now they're building a bunch of toll roads that would allow vehicles to bypass the center of the city. If inter-city vehicles (particularly trucks) were given free passage on these toll roads, that could REALLY help clear I-35 through Austin. However, the toll collectors that run our government don't think like that. Rather they think of trucks as big piggy-banks that will pay the tolls - they'll be in for a big surprise real soon. They only people that will pay the tolls are wealthy car drivers, trying to avoid rush hour congestion.
23 posted on 03/03/2005 5:34:52 PM PST by BobL
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To: BobL
While the usual pictures do look pretty, consider the following:

(1) The factors that are really critical in determining whether Texans are about to get shafted with this plan are missing. In particular, look for any links regarding contract details, state law, or anything else that may protect Texans. Other than some fluffy words, it is those details and the state law that will determine whether Texas build the greatest highway system, or becomes the laughing stock of the nation (right now, my vote is on the second). Remember this “project” is costing close to 200 Billion dollars, which is about $30,000 for a family of 4. This is the biggest government-orchestrated debt, ever, on the public (per capita), other than the national deficit. While private investors may be putting up the money for the system, from whom do you think they will DEMAND their money back? (hint: there are not enough NAFTA trucks to come close to covering these costs)

[[Update: there are some proposed law changes that will protect Texans, but who knows if they’ll ever see the light of day.]]


(2) The government will be TAKING huge amounts of land from private landowners, and virtually giving it over to a private company, Cintra (based in Spain), so that the company can build a toll road and probably be able to charge whatever the market will bear – as they do today in Canada. (technically speaking, we are being told that the concession is for 50 years, but we will not know for sure until we see the contract – and 50 years of being robbed is a long time)
http://best.enigmati.ca/trans-action/200501/4601.html#start

[[Possible Update: Robert Black, a spokesman for Texas Governor Rick Perry, has said that the “tolls cannot be set without state approval” (Feb., 2005). Since the contract has not been finalized and released to the public, it’s difficult to see how this can be verified – but in fairness to others, I promised to include this in the my posting.]]


(3) Speaking of Canada. Cintra now charges cars 19.5 US cents per mile if they have a transponder, and 23 US cents per mile (or more) if the do not have a transponder (these are peak rates, non-peak rates are about 1 cent less). Large Trucks are now charged 58 US cents per mile (peak) and 52 US cents per mile (non-peak). For the length of the highway, this is the highest toll rate in North America, and possibly the world. Cintra has won court rulings assuring them the right to continue raising tolls at will, and there NOTHING Canada can do to stop them for the next 95 years or so. Will trucks in Texas use Cintra’s new toll road? It’s hard to see how, considering that the toll will be higher than many of the drivers make in the first place. These are the rates (in Canadian cents per kilometer) that Cintra charges in Canada, bottom half of this web page:
http://www.407etr.com/tolls/tolls.asp

(4) If you think that is high, another experiment with a private monopoly being allowed to charge whatever it wanted was done in California. In that case, 2 toll lanes (each way, 10 miles long) were added to the totally packed SH-91 freeway, east of Los Angeles. The toll lane operator actually prevented the state from doing a badly-needed upgrade of a nearby state-owned highway section (using its monopoly clause). It got so ugly, that Orange County had to buy the toll lanes, just to be able to do the upgrade. By the way, those lanes now charge 70 cents per mile, for cars, at peak drive times.
http://www.91expresslanes.com/tollschedules.asp
http://bicycleaustin.info/rogerbaker/tollroad-failure.html
(read the LA Times article, just over halfway down – ignore the rest of the page, it’s a left-wing site)


(5) The contract between Texas and Cintra is being negotiated and signed in SECRET. Here in Texas, Governor Perry is signing away the future of Texans (see next item), without anyone even getting to see the deal. Most governors don’t have this level of power, and the ones that do would NEVER use it this recklessly.

(6) It has been virtually promised to Cintra that they will be able to prevent ANY upgrades to STATE-OWNED highways, anywhere near their toll road. This is classic MONOPOLISTC protection, which means that the free market has been jettisoned – and replaced by a very scary collaboration of big business and big government. Market forces are not simply not possible with surface transportation, due to right-of-away issues – the question really becomes whether private companies should be able to prevent the state from doing what it needs to do on state-owned highways. Most people in this country can easily see the disaster up ahead, except supporters of Governor Perry. Note this quote from Ric Williamson, head of the Texas Transportation Commission: “…we fully expect that there will be limitations on our ability, at some point in the future, to compete with the road…” The road being Cintra’s. There certainly will be monopolistic provisions. You can find the quote buried in this transcript.
http://www.dot.state.tx.us/transcom/transcripts/1204.htm
[[Possible Update: Part of the proposed law changes would prevent any Cintra-type contract from containing any anti-compete (or monopoly) clause. Again, this is only a proposal, and has not yet been passed by the Texas legislature, much less signed into law by the governor. Also, it’s very possible that this Cintra contract will be finalized and signed before the prohibition against anti-compete clauses becomes law. For this reason, the above information (Cintra gets their anti-compete clause) must remain the working assumption. For the people of Texas, let’s hope this prohibition becomes law before the contract is signed.]]

(7) The combined state and federal gas tax in Texas is about 2 cents per mile (or 40 cents per gallon, for a car getting 20 miles per gallon). For ONE extra cent per mile (or 20 cents per gallon), Texas could easily build the FREEWAYS that it needs.

(8) State-built toll roads can work, providing that politicians are honest about how they spend the money. The State of Kentucky built a large network of toll roads, but put all of the excess toll revenue back into paying off the roads. The result: the roads got paid off much earlier than expected, and now 80% of them are freeways, and the rest charge about 2 CENTS PER MILE. However, this is the exception. In Houston, once they had a surplus, they diverted it. First to buying a toll bridge that was nearly in default (and bailing it out), then by using the money to plan new toll roads, and finally by simply diverting the money completely out of the toll road system (when they were sure no one was looking). For a state with as much corruption as Texas (just look at this SECRET deal with Cintra), toll roads are simply another way for politicians and the well-connected (like Cintra) to rob the people.
http://www.kytc.state.ky.us/toll/Natcher.htm
http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/front/2994429

(9) Do toll roads increase property values and encourage development. NO, if you look at how people in the real world reacted when told that their freeway would now be a toll road. It’s real easy for the Libertarians at think tanks like Cato, Heritage, and Reason to publish white papers that essentially state that toll roads are equivalent to the second coming of Ronald Reagan. But the real world is outside of Think Tanks. The following article describes how a group of property owners (developers in this case) rescinded their offer to DONATE land to the state of Texas when they were told that their planned freeway (the Grand Parkway, a large loop around Houston) would instead be a toll road. While the Think Tanks may be have been telling them that they would become rich, their own decision to now force the state to condemn and BUY their land shows the real price of toll roads. (the article that follows is a bit tough to follow, but it confirms what did happen)
http://mypeoplepc.com/members/chrisodonnell/unitedtosaveourspring/id11.html

(10) Toll Roads are inherently inefficient. They require their own complicated system for identifying and tracking vehicles, and sometimes drivers. This adds greatly to the cost of tolls. Whereas the gas tax is already in place, thus there is no extra charge to collect more money. For example, if $10 needs to be collected using a new tolling system, then $15 in tolls must be collected, with the other $5 paying for the toll collection system. With the gas tax, if $10 is needed, simply increase the gas tax so that it collects another $10. Real easy. The first link is some nice reading about all the money that they grab in New Jersey, and they only charge 3.2 cents per mile, while the second link deals more with the horrendous situation in Texas:
http://www.users.nac.net/jmp/tollfree/costs.html
http://www.firericwilliamson.com/default.htm


(11) Toll Roads are unfair. You force people to pay HUGE amounts of money to drive on certain roads, while giving a free pass on other roads (and when you do the math, you realize that 20 cents per mile, for an average car, is like paying an EXTRA $4.00 per gallon for gas). Considering that the goal should be get people ON to limited access highways, rather than PUNISHING them for doing so, one can only conclude that toll roads, as they exist today, are totally counterproductive. In fact, to be really fair, the limited access roads should be free, and the surface streets should be tolled – that way you encourage people to stop clogging up local streets and traffic lights. But we are tolled where it is convenient, not where it makes sense.

(12) Big Brother. Look for yourself, not a word about protection of privacy when you travel the Harris County toll roads or use their transponders. On the other hand, they don’t mind collecting your phone number, driver’s license number, social security number, and either bank account or credit card number (so they can pull the money out automatically). What can they do with the information. Well if you use a transponder, it’s likely that some little guy at headquarters can pull-up the information real-time and figure out when you and your wife are both 20 miles away from home (i.e., your house is empty), and call up one of their “friends”. Just an example. It used to be that privacy protection mattered to Republicans and Libertarians, I guess not with toll roads. Go through this site and their transponder application - see if there’s anything about protecting your privacy.
http://www.hctra.com/

(13) CONCLUSION - Tolls are NOT needed. They are a very inefficient way to collect huge amounts of money from the WRONG people. The gas tax has worked fine, it simply has no way to index itself for inflation. In Texas at least (and probably other growing states), an increase in the gas tax is necessary to build the roads necessary to keep traffic moving. Unfortunately, this governor will not do that, instead he is mortgaging away the future of Texas to a private company with no interest other than making us all look like idiots (as they did in Canada).

(14) HISTORY OF PRIVATELT FINANCED TOLL ROADS IN NORTH AMERICA - North America has a checkered experience with private toll roads. The Dullas Greenway, in Northern Virginia, was built privately. The Orange County Toll Road system was built publicly, but used private-sector financing, with no assurance to investors that the government would back up their investments. Both quickly failed, with the promised explosion of development not happening soon enough, if at all. Why is this important? Because future investors see these results and DEMAND lower risks and higher profits. Cintra has learned from this and is able to make a killing in North America. The problem is that its being done on the backs of drivers – it is virtually a zero-sum game.

(15) CINTRA IS VERY SHREWED – Canada learned this lesson the hard way in January. They thought that they had some control over toll rates, but the courts read the contract, and it was clear that Cintra could charge whatever they wanted, and that will hold for the next 95 years!. Are the skills of Governor Perry and his staff up to this level? Probably not. Consider that they announced the agreement with Cintra before it was finalized. This has to be about the dumbest thing you can do. Now Perry has to accept whatever Cintra offers, or otherwise walk away and look like a total fool. On this particular corridor, Texans are about to get screwed big-time, it’s unavoidable.

(16) INCENTIVES – Monopolies operate according to a different set of incentives than regular private business. Since they already have an assured market share, their goal is to maximize profits (which is fine until you read the next sentence). Consider this hypothetical situation with Cintra: Their toll road is wildly successful and starting to get crowded, so they hold a board meeting and Mr. Cintra is given two options: Option 1 - add an extra lane, Option 2 – increase tolls dramatically. This is a real easy decision – just increase tolls. That way you don’t have to pay a dime for new construction, and you get rid of the congestion. The fact that you’re choking off commerce in the state doesn’t matter – after all you’re Cintra, and all that matters is the bottom line. On the other hand, state owned highways have to answer to the taxpayers – which is about the best check you can have on this unrestrained power.

(17) THE HIDDEN MONEY – This is using approximate numbers, but the Canadians learned the hard way (something that Texans are about to do also), that the value of highway, in many cases, can be much more than the sum of its parts. In the Canadian example, the Province of Ontario built a toll road for about $1.5 Billion (highway 407, near Toronto). They then sold this road to Cintra for $3.0 Billion, and were bragging about the $1.5 Billion profit that they made. And it is true, they were able to sell that highway for much more than it cost to build. But then Cintra sold off a 25% interest of the highway, for $1.5 Billion (sorry about the repetitive numbers, but I’m trying to get as close as possible), meaning the TRUE VALUE of the highway was closer to $6.0 Billion. Where did all of this extra value come from? It came from the government, using its powers of EMINENT DOMAIN, to create a much more valuable use of the land. In essence the land value increased many times over, once a uninterrupted path was created between Point A and Point B. The question then becomes: Who should benefit from this much more valuable land. In the case of a freeway, the drivers benefit. In the case of a government-run toll road, the government benefits (and just MAY give some of that back by reducing other taxes – but in any case, the money stays in Texas). In the case of a private toll road, like Cintra plans, the money is simply taken from the state to never be seen again. (and people wonder why I oppose this so strongly)
24 posted on 03/03/2005 5:37:16 PM PST by BobL
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To: BobL

"[Possible Update: Robert Black, a spokesman for Texas Governor Rick Perry, has said that the “tolls cannot be set without state approval” (Feb., 2005). Since the contract has not been finalized and released to the public, it’s difficult to see how this can be verified – but in fairness to others, I promised to include this in the my posting.]"

i hope the contract can be nullified.

i have all kinds of responses to your post, but i'll keep them few:

#12 the transponders may be what a lot of this is about. homeland security and crime prevention in a nutshell, at the expense of our constitutional rights.

the not-so-amusing thing is the leftists who supposedly hate homeland security aren't much aware of this!


25 posted on 03/03/2005 5:46:21 PM PST by ken21 ( warning: a blood bath when rehnquist, et al retire. >hang w dubya.< dems want 2 divide us.)
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To: ken21
"#12 the transponders may be what a lot of this is about. homeland security and crime prevention in a nutshell, at the expense of our constitutional rights"

Actually, I'm sure that Uncle Sam doesn't mind if we all drive around with little transponders in our cars. As I understand it, it will become standard and integrated into newer cars anyway (I doubt if we'll be able to disable them). Most of the drivers will not even know they're there, unless they drive on toll roads. But very few of the drivers will realize that these cute little transponders can be read anywhere a transmitter is set up, toll road, freeway, surface street, entrance to work, political event, protest, football game, etc. We can all be identified and entered into a database, without even knowing it. As to who can read this data - that depends on who has the transmitters and who has access to the master databases that government will own. For example, I have no doubt that the IRS will soon be able to fully re-create our movements - something very handy when checking for tax cheaters. But the list goes on...

While it's certainly understandable that the Dems would love to know where we all are, at all times, given their history with fascism and socialism, the fact that Republican toll road supporters conveniently ignore this massive invasion of privacy leads me to think that they simply haven't thought it through.
26 posted on 03/03/2005 7:15:24 PM PST by BobL
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

Thanks for the ping!


27 posted on 03/03/2005 8:48:19 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

BTT!!!!!!


28 posted on 03/04/2005 3:07:50 AM PST by E.G.C.
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To: Alamo-Girl

You're welcome. :-)


29 posted on 03/04/2005 9:35:33 AM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks (Deport 'em all; let fox sort 'em out!)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

http://www.firericwilliamson.com

Have some stink-finger Ric!


30 posted on 03/04/2005 11:49:48 AM PST by MarshallDillon
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