TxDOT’s own projections indicate TTC-35 will not take the burden off of I-35.
Audit: Few expected to use TTC tollway
February 24, 2007
By JOANN LIVINGSTON, Managing Editor
Waxahachie Daily Light
Corridor Watch spokesman David Stall is concerned about the TTC-35 projected tolls - and the impact on how that expense would affect people’s decisions to use the roadway.
“They’re going to make the tolls as much as people are willing to pay,” Stall said of any private entity that would take on any of the TransTexas Corridor’s planned 4,000 miles of toll roads.
“That’s exactly the opposite with what we have now (with state-run toll roads) that keep the toll as low as necessary,” he said, noting state-run toll roads’ motive is to keep traffic moving - not to make a profit.
“Private operators can raise the tolls as high as the market will bear,” Stall said, noting privately-run toll roads are familiar to people in California, where high tolls have led to the toll roads being nicknamed “Lexus lanes.”
“Some of these are extremely expensive,” Stall said.
The projected toll for the TTC-35 are among the highest in the nation at $0.125 per mile per car and $0.48 per mile per 5-axle truck, according to a table included with the audit.
The 333-mile trip from Oklahoma to San Antonio would cost $41.63 for a passenger vehicle, with a truck-tractor semi-trailer paying $159.84.
This compares to a car paying $24.87 for a 641-mile trip on the New York Thruway, where a big rig would pay $126.34.
A 606-mile trip on the Oklahoma Turnpike System would cost $26.55 for a passenger vehicle and $94.10 for a big rig. The 450-mile Florida Turnpike has a toll of $28.90 for a passenger vehicle and $99.25 for a big rig.
Although it’s not an issue addressed in the state audit made public Friday, Stall said the price of tolls impacts the number of people who ultimately choose whether or not to use a pay-to-drive roadway.
Although Perry has pushed for the Trans-Texas Corridor by citing immediate, pressing needs, TxDOT’s own projections seem to indicate the TTC-35 will not take the burden off of I-35.
According to TxDOT:
The segments that are needed most (the near-term facilities) stretch from Dallas to San Antonio. These segments could be complete within five to 10 years (by 2017), with other segments of the TTC-35 to be built “when they are needed.”
A 2006 traffic study conducted by TxDOT showed that by 2014, approximately 18 percent of the total traffic on I-35 between San Antonio and Austin could be diverted to TTC-35 and by 2030, this number could reach 24 percent.
This same traffic study concluded that by 2014, 15 percent of the traffic on I-35 between Austin and Waco could be diverted to TTC-35, with a total diversion of 23 percent by 2030.
“They’re not interested in how many cars they can move, but in how much money they can make,” Stall said. “If they can double the tolls, cut the number of cars in half, they keep the same revenue - and their maintenance costs go down. It’s economics.”
See the audit online at www.thedailylight.com/media/ttc.pdf
Also online: www.corridorwatch.com
E-mail JoAnn at email@example.com
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