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VinnyVincent

Why does everyone keep talking about toll roads like it's a positive thing?

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samagon    1989
21 hours ago, Triton said:

 

I am curious why you're saying it's not going to roads... is that just your perception? This is a pretty big country and, in our city alone, we see construction of major projects such as 290 and that portion of 610 (mostly non-tolled except express lanes), and we see the massive 45 project ahead, again mostly non-tolled except for express lanes. Anyone have any figures on gas tax/property tax going to highway construction?

 

I am not sure whether this website has a liberal or conservative bias but this is an interesting read on numbers alone:

 

http://taxfoundation.org/article/gasoline-taxes-and-tolls-pay-only-third-state-local-road-spending

 

Sounds like not enough money is even raised from tolls and especially not from the gas tax either. Appears a majority of projects require federal funds.

 

http://www.lbb.state.tx.us/Documents/Publications/Primer/Highway Funding Primer 312012.pdf

 

is what I had found.

 

19 hours ago, VinnyVincent said:

I just noticed this. You had to go to court to determine what your house is worth? :lol:

 

Sounds like they really hit you guys hard in the inner city lol

 

 

 

ha, no. nothing so spectacular. IIRC, the last tax assessor collector had judge on his name in some way, or was previously a judge, or whatever. anyway, whenever I looked at the letter from the tax assessor collector's office it would say "from the office of judge blah blah blah" or that's what I remember having read. maybe my mind added that. anyway, not spectacular at all.

 

as an aside, we probably pass each other on that brays bayou trail. I ride in the afternoons when I get home from work. amazing isn't it? I work in downtown leave my house at 7:00am, walk into my office at 7:15am. then I leave at 4:30pm, pull into my driveway at home at 4:45pm and am on the brays bayou trail no later than 5pm. I don't ride during standard time, only DST, too dark too early :(

 

For me, it's less about the $3000 wasted in tolls, but the time you lose each day. 1-2 hours each way in traffic? that's 2-4 hours a day. I mean, split the difference and call it 3 hours a day. at 240 working days a year (52 weeks, -4 weeks for holidays and vacation multiplied by 5 days a week), that's 720 hours you waste. extrapolate to days. 30 days wasted in your car. Take my $3000 I could care less, but a whole month in the car. I am so sorry. 

 

My quality of life is so much better now that I have a ~15 minute commute. I will never again have a 1 hour or more commute. ever. never ever. 

Edited by samagon
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LTAWACS    65

That sounds... great.

 

So... why does everyone keep talking about tool roads like its a positive thing?

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samagon    1989

because people still insist on living in locations that are too sparsely populated to support a state funded freeway, and they are happy (well, most are happy) to pay $3000 a year for the privilege of a 1-2 hour commute.

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gmac    152

Alternatively, those of us who live outside the beloved Loop may do so because we can't afford anything reasonably nice closer in. I never minded my commute when I did it. It was so nice to come home to a peaceful suburb, it was all worth it.

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kylejack    846
On 1/24/2017 at 0:21 PM, LTAWACS said:

That sounds... great.

 

So... why does everyone keep talking about tool roads like its a positive thing?

 

Because I get to opt out of paying for roads that I don't use.

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samagon    1989
On 1/24/2017 at 6:27 PM, gmac said:

Alternatively, those of us who live outside the beloved Loop may do so because we can't afford anything reasonably nice closer in. I never minded my commute when I did it. It was so nice to come home to a peaceful suburb, it was all worth it.

 

right, isn't that what I said :)

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samagon    1989
5 hours ago, VinnyVincent said:

Yup and they get to throw huge parties off the books with peoples money who did pay to use the road...


http://corridornews.blogspot.com/2007/06/huge-parties-by-hctra-and-its-vendors.html

 

quoted because if you read that you're going to delete it. lol, you didn't read a single word of that did you?

 

literally, the second paragraph:

 

Quote

Contractors doing business with the county paid thousands of dollars for a picnic for Harris County Toll Road Authority employees last year

underlined... CONTRACTORS paid this. people who use the road didn't pay this.

 

yes, it was off the books. yes, it's going to be classified as unethical and probably never happen again.

 

but it wasn't what you suggest.

Edited by samagon

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UtterlyUrban    1376
6 hours ago, samagon said:

quoted because if you read that you're going to delete it. lol, you didn't read a single word of that did you?

 

literally, the second paragraph:

 

underlined... CONTRACTORS paid this. people who use the road didn't pay this.

 

yes, it was off the books. yes, it's going to be classified as unethical and probably never happen again.

 

but it wasn't what you suggest.

I have no dog in this hunt.  But, I did read the linked article.

 

From whom, back in 2007, did the contractors (I.e vendors) who worked for the toll road authority get paid?  

 

Was it the toll road authority?  

 

If so, where did the toll road authority get its funds?

 

tolls?

 

"contractors" are any business doing business with the toll road authority.......  could be someone providing office supplies, office furniture, document management, legal services, ..... anything...... all of those folks, back in 2007 were "hit up" to pay for a picnic.... seemingly as a cost of doing business with the toll road authority.  So, they simply charge a little more for their services and bill the tool road authority a bit more and are paid in ..... toll road user tolls.......

 

am i missing something?

Edited by UtterlyUrban
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samagon    1989

I don't disagree with that, but...

 

presumably the prices the contractors bid have to go through review and ensure they are commiserate with other projects?

 

presumably these contractors do business with other roadways?

 

so yeah, I'm sure there's some costs that get back to the tollway users, but it's pretty well defrayed.

 

again, not saying it is especially legal in a world where we need to ensure that there aren't any chances of an ethics violation.

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LTAWACS    65

*sigh*.... lets just get rid of the darned tolls one that particular stretch of road is paid for already?????

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VinnyVincent    17
On 1/30/2017 at 9:55 AM, LTAWACS said:

*sigh*.... lets just get rid of the darned tolls one that particular stretch of road is paid for already?????

I'd be happy with that bit of progress. At least shut down the one thats been paid for 12 times over.

Without doing that, they're using toll money simply to fund more toll roads. It's like a tax with the added weight of a private company to support.

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samagon    1989
11 hours ago, VinnyVincent said:

I'd be happy with that bit of progress. At least shut down the one thats been paid for 12 times over.

Without doing that, they're using toll money simply to fund more toll roads. It's like a tax with the added weight of a private company to support.

 

But that's the point!

 

Use the high volume existing toll roads to fund new toll roads and pay for other existing toll roads that under perform.

 

Anyone who chose to live next to a toll road with the expectation that at some point in the future the tolls would no longer be charged let themselves be suckered.

 

Progress would be that METRO and HCTRA are combined and for every dollar spent on toll roads an equal dollar must be spent on mass transit (commuter rail, light rail, subway, buses, etc).

Edited by samagon
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VinnyVincent    17
10 hours ago, samagon said:

 

But that's the point!

 

Use the high volume existing toll roads to fund new toll roads and pay for other existing toll roads that under perform.

 

Anyone who chose to live next to a toll road with the expectation that at some point in the future the tolls would no longer be charged let themselves be suckered.

 

Progress would be that METRO and HCTRA are combined and for every dollar spent on toll roads an equal dollar must be spent on mass transit (commuter rail, light rail, subway, buses, etc).

But isn't the argument for toll roads "You aren't going to increase my taxes to pay for roads I don't use!"? Well, by paying to ride on a road that's been paid off already, you are paying for other roads that you probably don't use. Most people who use BW8 on a regular basis aren't using the hardy on a regular basis.

It's the exact same thing as a tax, but the cost is higher because they are #1 for profit and #2 their executives are overly paid. There's also a lot of what essentially amounts to bribery/back scratching going on.(I'm thinking county commissioners here)

 

What's more, they secure funding from investors to build new roads. Why do they need BW8? Foreign Investors are beating down the door to buy more of our public land, so they can charge us to use it...shouldn't be too hard to get all the money that way. The only reason I see to keep BW8 tolls open is greed.

 

249 used to be a decent free highway. Now the poor people who have always lives there are reduced to some cheesy little feeder road that got squeezed in as a technicality. That toll road made traffic in that area worse, not better, because no one uses it.

 

 

 

Edited by VinnyVincent

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IronTiger    721
21 hours ago, VinnyVincent said:

I'd be happy with that bit of progress. At least shut down the one thats been paid for 12 times over.

Without doing that, they're using toll money simply to fund more toll roads. It's like a tax with the added weight of a private company to support.

Roads (or any transportation network) aren't just "build once and ignore forever" no matter how you slice it, because once you take a road off of funding, it will fall apart. Imagine the Houston freeways having the sort of potholes some of the late 1970s/1980s roads have gotten prior to rebuilding. Richmond, Broadway, maybe Gessner north of I-10, all that. And of course, maintenance for emergency situations. They repaired Beltway 8 south of I-10 following damage from Harvey. Imagine if they didn't repair it or just scrounged up enough cash to plug the most problematic areas with asphalt. Or expansion, like how Beltway 8 and 288 is getting a shiny five-stack, or at least the first phases of it.

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VinnyVincent    17
42 minutes ago, IronTiger said:

Roads (or any transportation network) aren't just "build once and ignore forever" no matter how you slice it, because once you take a road off of funding, it will fall apart. Imagine the Houston freeways having the sort of potholes some of the late 1970s/1980s roads have gotten prior to rebuilding. Richmond, Broadway, maybe Gessner north of I-10, all that. And of course, maintenance for emergency situations. They repaired Beltway 8 south of I-10 following damage from Harvey. Imagine if they didn't repair it or just scrounged up enough cash to plug the most problematic areas with asphalt. Or expansion, like how Beltway 8 and 288 is getting a shiny five-stack, or at least the first phases of it.

I understand that, but it's well known that the Hardy toll road loses money and is SUBSIDIZED(there's that nasty word people hate when talk of increasing taxes comes) by funds from BW8.

If toll roads are so successful, as you claim, why not charge 30 cents at the booth on BW8 to cover filling of pot holes and here's an idea- how about a VOTE on whether or not we need additional funds to build roads in some areas?

Why I am I stuck paying for someones bad business decision when I ride BW8 but not the Hardy?

 

They fixed the road after hurricane harvey? LOL that's what they're SUPPOSED to do! of course they fixed it. They were losing more money per day in tolls than the repairs cost them no doubt. Gotta keep that money pouring into he county commissioners pockets, right? I bet if the roads were public roads and they got damaged, we could have gotten federal assistance for repairs...

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Ross    616
42 minutes ago, VinnyVincent said:

I understand that, but it's well known that the Hardy toll road loses money and is SUBSIDIZED(there's that nasty word people hate when talk of increasing taxes comes) by funds from BW8.

If toll roads are so successful, as you claim, why not charge 30 cents at the booth on BW8 to cover filling of pot holes and here's an idea- how about a VOTE on whether or not we need additional funds to build roads in some areas?

Why I am I stuck paying for someones bad business decision when I ride BW8 but not the Hardy?

 

They fixed the road after hurricane harvey? LOL that's what they're SUPPOSED to do! of course they fixed it. They were losing more money per day in tolls than the repairs cost them no doubt. Gotta keep that money pouring into he county commissioners pockets, right? I bet if the roads were public roads and they got damaged, we could have gotten federal assistance for repairs...

They ARE public roads. None of the Houston area toll roads are owned by private entities. They are all owned and operated by government agencies.

 

What's your evidence that the Hardy is subsidized by the other segments? Claiming that "it's well known" is not evidence.

 

On the 2016 financials, it shows that HCTRA transferred $124 million to the County for non-toll thoroughfare construction.

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IronTiger    721
2 hours ago, VinnyVincent said:

I understand that, but it's well known that the Hardy toll road loses money and is SUBSIDIZED(there's that nasty word people hate when talk of increasing taxes comes) by funds from BW8.

If toll roads are so successful, as you claim, why not charge 30 cents at the booth on BW8 to cover filling of pot holes and here's an idea- how about a VOTE on whether or not we need additional funds to build roads in some areas?

Why I am I stuck paying for someones bad business decision when I ride BW8 but not the Hardy?

 

They fixed the road after hurricane harvey? LOL that's what they're SUPPOSED to do! of course they fixed it. They were losing more money per day in tolls than the repairs cost them no doubt. Gotta keep that money pouring into he county commissioners pockets, right? I bet if the roads were public roads and they got damaged, we could have gotten federal assistance for repairs...

The Houston Chronicle reported in 1998 that the Hardy Toll Road was still not paying for itself and indicated with their numbers that there needed to be about a 50% increase in toll-paying drivers for it to break even. However, by 2002, the Hardy Toll Road traffic had increased by 50% and has been rising since. (source: Houston Freeways by @MaxConcrete)

 

So yes...you are correct if you were using data from two decades ago. As for your other claim, HCTRA is still a government agency and is eligible for disaster recompensation.

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Timoric    682
On 1/19/2017 at 10:32 AM, VinnyVincent said:

I'm sorry(that you have to visit that area daily)

I use a toll-road here in Maryland, the Inter-county Connector and like it. I get across town faster for a nominal fee.

 

The first point I would make is that I am glad they actually built it.

A lot of groups oppose building any kind of roads for various reasons (neighborhood traffic, environment, etc). 

So to get one built can be an accomplishment in and of itself.

 

Incidentally it is equally difficult to get Mass Transit built as well - Purple Line built which is a rail connector for the DC Metro, seems like a group sues and you pray a judge doesn't cancel the whole thing or delay it so long you never get to use it.

 

Even when something is built, there could be other delays. A Silver Spring Bus Terminal was built outside my office and sat unused for years because someone claimed the concrete wasn't built properly and it would be dangerous to use the facility - it finally opened after lawsuits, inspections, etc.

 

If you want an economic reason for having toll roads vs freeways go look up a Milton Friedman video on YouTube, I seem to recall he made some sort of case back in my college days.

 

Honestly, I like toll-roads because they tend to be less crowded, and the fee is nominal. They also seem to be pretty well maintained - could because the ICC and the Virginia Hot-Lanes are pretty new though.

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samagon    1989
On 10/11/2017 at 5:43 PM, VinnyVincent said:

But isn't the argument for toll roads "You aren't going to increase my taxes to pay for roads I don't use!"? Well, by paying to ride on a road that's been paid off already, you are paying for other roads that you probably don't use. Most people who use BW8 on a regular basis aren't using the hardy on a regular basis.

It's the exact same thing as a tax, but the cost is higher because they are #1 for profit and #2 their executives are overly paid. There's also a lot of what essentially amounts to bribery/back scratching going on.(I'm thinking county commissioners here)

 

What's more, they secure funding from investors to build new roads. Why do they need BW8? Foreign Investors are beating down the door to buy more of our public land, so they can charge us to use it...shouldn't be too hard to get all the money that way. The only reason I see to keep BW8 tolls open is greed.

 

249 used to be a decent free highway. Now the poor people who have always lives there are reduced to some cheesy little feeder road that got squeezed in as a technicality. That toll road made traffic in that area worse, not better, because no one uses it.

 

 

 

 

Taxes aren't increased to pay for roads you don't use. Tolls are collected on tollroads to help pay for new tollroads. You also have a choice to not take the tollroad. My taxes have not once gone up to pay for tollroads.

 

Now, to the point where you are lying...

 

I've been on 249, both before and after the tollroad was added. they absolutely did not add tolls to an already existing freeway as you suggest. Where the freeway ended is still where the freeway portion of the road ends, they added tolled lanes beyond where the freeway had always ended.

 

Simply put, 249 freeway always ended between Spring Cypress and Northpoint Blvd. The last free exit is currently after Spring Cypress, for Northpoint Blvd.

 

So you are lying when you say the people are now 'reduced' to some cheesy feeder. After Spring Cypress all that was available was a feeder road.

 

Traffic in the area is worse because there are more people living all over the place up there. Traffic in the area will continue to get worse because they are building more and more homes. 

 

Confirmation of your lie about what 249 was/is, and confirmation of new neighborhoods can both be seen on historic aerials.

 

You don't like tollways, that's fine, but you don't need to lie to try and bolster your argument that they are pure concentrated evil.

 

It may come as a surprise, but I don't like tollways either. I haven't been on a tollway in over 10 years since I moved away from beltway 8. I don't like them, but I do recognize and appreciate their value as a method of quickly increasing car mobility in a given area without raising taxes.

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