Regretfully, Mr. Krier’s attempts to suggest that toll roads are the smart solution in his 9 February commentary using several myths. Time & space does not permit addressing every myth, but let me attempt to expose just a few.
He suggests that toll roads are a method for accelerating the timetable for creation of new roads. In what manner? TXDOT has admitted on several occasions that the original funds for the “non-toll” project exist. If TXDOT had merely stuck by its original 2001 schedule, the original “non-toll” project would already be completed. What is really galling is that we learn (from a recent Express-News article) that TXDOT intended to use those very millions in funds to start the initial toll-road construction on Hwy 281 !
He suggests that toll roads will ease congestion. For toll roads to work, drivers must see that they (toll roads) have little or no congestion. That implies that the “free-alternative-lanes” will be heavily congested. What kind of a solution is that? And what about the added costs to those drivers who must spend the extra time in congested “free-lanes”?
The most ridiculous myth is that our current method of building roads (via gasoline taxes) is “punitive”. If one merely calculated the cost to the drivers of this city for toll roads vs. gasoline taxes, I believe one would disagree. A typical driver who drives 20,000 miles a year pays $380 a year in federal/state gasoline taxes at the pump. Contrast that with a recent TXDOT sponsored survey that would charge up to $5.90 EACH way for ONE trip on Loop 1604. That works out to $3068 per year for JUST a work commute. AND Mr. Krier should certainly understand that in our current system, we ONLY pay for a new road ONCE. By contrast, toll-roads (once paid for) NEVER become “free” again – (just ask the citizens who reside in the northeast of this country how many decades they’ve been paying for their toll roads.)
Unfortunately, Mr. Krier, the citizens of this community are becoming educated on the issue of toll roads and hence you hear the outcry against toll roads. As chairman of the SA Mobility coalition (and CEO of Chamber of Commerce), I am disappointed that you attempt to ignore the facts when it comes to the issue of toll roads.