The Jeffersonian points to this story about some friction between Bexar County Commissioners Court and the Texas Department of Transportation over funding for a regional toll road authority there. The war of words that County Judge Nelson Wolff and County Commissioner Lyle Larson are having with TxDOT is pretty entertaining.
The subject of toll roads continues to be a controversial one, as both Chris Bell and Carole Keeton Strayhorn have made a campaign issue of them and more online activists keep popping up to express their opposition. I think what bothers me as much as anything in the push for toll roads is the disingenuousness of the case in favor of them. I've touched on the funding issue before, but I continue to be annoyed at how lazy some public officials seem to be about doing the math:
But with gas taxes drying up and newer vehicles getting better gas mileage, toll roads might be the best answer to tackle traffic congestion, Wolff said. So it's important for San Antonio to work with the state in an effort to share profits and keep an eye on toll rates and other details.
"I don't know of any other way than toll roads," he said.
How can I say that? Well, suppose you're a two-SUV household that drives 600 miles a week combined. At 15 MPG, that's 40 gallons of gas a week, so a dime increase in the gas tax would be an extra $4 a week, or $208 per year. Compare that to what you might pay in tolls - the folks who drive the spiffy Westpark Toll Road from Katy to 610 and back home again pay $6.50 a day for the privilege, which is $32.50 a week (assuming no weekend toll driving) or $1690 per year. Which sounds better to you?
Now, given where I live and where I work, I don't anticipate being put in a position where a toll road might seem an attractive alternative for my regular driving. I'm just mystified that more of the people who are in that position haven't made a bigger fuss about it.Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 18, 2005 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles | TrackBack