Tuesday, September 11, 2007

"What they're talking about is driving the frontage road with stoplights."

Will More Toll Lanes Help Or Hurt Austin Traffic?

Residents Speak For, Against Toll Road Construction

Sep 10, 2007

KXAN-TV NBC (Austin)
Copyright 2007

More than 120 people turned out to speak about toll road construction.

Sitting in traffic can make people see red, and finding a solution to the problem is no different.

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, or CAMPO, has a plan that could call for toll lanes on U.S. Highway 290 West and East, State Highways 71 East and 183 South, and Interstate 45 South.

"This is a big fat boondoggle," said Sal Costello of the Texas Toll Party.

Costello wants the brakes put on the plan.

"They are taking the right of way from us," Costello said. "These are freeways always intended to be freeways. It's right of way we paid for."

CAMPO chairman Sen. Kirk Watson said the toll is only for new or improved lanes.

"No road that is currently open to the motoring public and was built with non-toll revenue will be tolled," Watson said. "Even after these improvements would be done and you didn't want to pay a toll, you would have essentially the exact same driving experience."

"What they're talking about is driving the frontage road with stoplights," Costello said.

"Now all of a sudden they want to put a toll on it; that's not fair," said resident Nancy Cobb.

Cobb has lived in the U.S. 290 West area for more than 20 years. She said she thinks the plan is a dead end for drivers.

"At this point I don't want a toll road; 1826 is where I live, and a lot of people don't have any other route but to come through the 'Y,'" Cobb said.

"It's unacceptable," Costello said.

"I've recommended it, and I believe the CAMPO board will follow," Watson said.

Watson said CAMPO will vote on the issue on Oct. 8.

© 2007 WorldNow and KXAN.: www.kxan.com

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