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Australia: Traffic Lights Modified to Funnel Traffic Into Toll Tunnel ^ | February 3, 2006 |

Posted on 02/09/2006 6:36:00 AM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks

Traffic lights in Sydney, Australia were modified to create gridlock forcing frustrated motorists into a controversial toll tunnel.

Testimony yesterday in a New South Wales, Australia parliamentary inquiry into the Cross City Tunnel uncovered evidence of significant engineering alterations made in an attempt to force motorists onto the toll road. Opposition leader Peter Debnam charged the Labor government with adjusting signals at 400 intersections along Williams Street and other nearby roads in such a way as to create additional gridlock.

In January, Debnam's formal Freedom of Information request for full data on traffic light timing changes was rejected on the grounds that it might "facilitate the commission of a terrorist attack."

"It demonstrates the Labor Government’s continuing contempt for the community and the public’s right to know," Debnam said. "It defies belief they would attempt to use a counter-terrorism excuse to hide their rip-off of motorists."

The parliament formed the Joint Select Committee on the Cross City Tunnel to examine other controversial measures including road closings forced by non-compete provisions in the contract. A community liaison group member for the tunnel testified that the narrowing of lanes on adjacent, free roads came as a shock to area residents.

"Suddenly overnight, like mushrooms, concrete barriers are built," Suzanne O'Connor testified. "They were very keen on traffic calming, which apparently is jargon for funneling. So there was a lot of jargon, a lot of English being abused, again I think... in an attempt to keep the implications hidden."

Tunnel usage so far has fallen to less than half the initial goal of 90,000 motorists per day. Nonetheless, even without expected rate increases the road is on track to make A$800 million in revenue in the next fifteen years.

TOPICS: Australia/New Zealand; Business/Economy; News/Current Events; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: australia; crooks; crosscitytunnel; dps; ntta; sidney; texas; tolls; tolltags; trafficlights
Texas: Arrest Warrant Issued Over 75 Cent Toll

Texas tollroad arrests two motorists over a total of $5.50 in alleged unpaid tolls.

The North Texas Tollway Authority ordered the Texas Department of Public Safety to issue a warrant for the arrest of motorist Gail Blair for the crime of skipping a 75 cent toll. Today, after five court hearings, Blair continues to fight the charge which she says resulted from one of the 4000 daily transponder misreads that plague the high-tech toll system.

"There's a possibility that I could be sent to jail over a 75 cent toll," Blair explained in an interview with WFAA-TV.

Blair regularly drives on the area's toll roads and pays an average of $1000 a year for the privilege. At the time of the alleged offense, Blair had both a working TollTag transponder and money in her account. Still, the tolling authority insists its equipment is not to blame for any error since they had sent warning notices to Blair. Those notices went to the wrong address, even though both the tolling authority and the state had Blair's correct address on file.

Instead, the tollway is asking Blair to pay $350 in fines over the alleged 75 cent infraction. Blair, who works at night and can attend trial during the day, refuses to give in.

"I don't care if they fine me a penny; I'm not guilty," she said. "I don't care if it's 75 cents, a dollar, a hundred dollars -- it doesn't matter to me."

Blair isn't alone. Eli Lucero was arrested and jailed on New Year's Eve because the tolling authority claims he didn't pay $4.75 in tolls in 2004. Lucero later discovered he was entirely innocent and the tolling authority had transposed the digits on his license plate. Still, because he couldn't afford to take time off to fight in court he paid $304.75 in fines just to put the matter to rest.

"I won't use the tollway any more," Lucero said.

Source: TollTag court: A driver's nightmare (WFAA-TV (TX), 2/4/2006)

1 posted on 02/09/2006 6:36:01 AM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
it appears that the government of New South Wales has taken several pages out of the play book that was used so successfully by the "Big Dig." It is the government, they are her to help you. I wonder how many of the Australian pols will have their net worth increased.
2 posted on 02/09/2006 6:43:41 AM PST by Bubba M. Aurelius
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

Makes me wonder if Minneapolis used the same methodology to make light rail seem more attractive.

3 posted on 02/09/2006 6:46:20 AM PST by Egon (I don't want edible meat, I want edible animals. - CygnusXI)
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To: Egon

Dang that LePettomaine! Now someone's gotta go back and get a sh*tload of dimes!

4 posted on 02/09/2006 6:53:36 AM PST by massgopguy (massgopguy)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
WE have a "Fast Trac" system here in Oakland County, Michigan that that has millions of dollars worth of cameras and computer controls, and a mission control building somewhere. Yet the lights can stay out of sync for weeks at a time.

The main asset one can bring to work at the Road Commission is the ability to regurgitate the reasons why the lights are out of whack, nothing else matters.

But really the real idiots are not the ones who time the lights, it's the ones who pay them to do it.

5 posted on 02/09/2006 7:17:06 AM PST by Mark was here (How can they be called "Homeless" if their home is a field?.)
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