The fact the MPO could not get a single contractor to do an independent study for a non-toll option on 281 (and 1604 was added by an amendment by Rep. David Leibowitz) shows the whole process is severely tainted and that non-toll options will not be given any serious consideration as federal law requires. It’s obvious that road builders know if they dare give an honest analysis or put forward an independent non-toll option for 281 (for which there already is one, see the plans here: www.281overpassesnow.com), they’ll never get another job in this town again.
The obvious answer is to update the TxDOT plan from 2001 that was already adopted by the MPO for 5 years and promised and promoted in public hearings. There is also another more recent plan done in 2005 that can also be used as a non-toll plan. As a last resort, the MPO can always find a contractor outside Texas politics to do an independent non-toll plan. The cancellation of a non-toll plan OUTSIDE the control of the tolling authority, the RMA, displays the pathetic state of transportation in Texas today. I don’t know which is worse, the power TxDOT and the toll authority wields or the gutless crowd of contractors we have…
Toll road study axed but alternatives still on the table
By Vianna Davila – Express-News
03/29/2010The long-awaited resolution to the battle over tolls roads still hasn’t come — yet.
In December, members of the Metropolitan Planning Organization board authorized a study to determine the cost differences between toll and nontoll alternatives on U.S. 281, after a heated public meeting last fall over the board’s transportation options.
But by a February deadline, no consulting firms had stepped up to do the study, leaving the board back where it started.
At MPO’s transportation policy board meeting on Monday, officials decided to rely on the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority’s environmental impact statement — a three-year study that will ultimately recommend an option on U.S. 281 and how to fund it.
The environmental study will examine three main construction options: an expressway, which could include a combination of high-occupancy toll lanes and nontoll lanes similar to those in Houston; an elevated expressway, which also would include a similar combination of high-occupancy toll and nontoll lanes; or an overpass expansion, a plan that currently does not include tolls and would have the smallest physical impact, said RMA Executive Director Terry Brechtel.
For the rest of the story, go here.