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HCTRA is planning to replace the Beltway 8 Ship Channel Bridge with two Cable-stayed suspension bridges. Public Notice attached from the Coast Guard is attached. Has this been mentioned already? Couldn't find an ongoing topic. Public notice - bridge application - 091815.pdf
https://hctra.co The primary purpose of this site right now is an information dump. I put some of my opinons on the front page, but I may remove them. The information about Texas Tag is important though - more proof that HCTRA is being run as if it were a profit seeking entity, rather than in service to the residents of Harris County. I am open to rational debate. I also accept submissions for the site. I am not opposed to the basic idea of toll roads either, but I think HCTRA has been actively abusive to their customers, and privately, I believe that one or more of these documents will reveal malfeasance. They are posted for public review as I don't have the time myself to go through them all. I know that this site is already receiving some traffic from people mistyping "hctra.com", so I have mentioned how an existing EZ TAG holder would need to go to hctra.org to service their account.
HCTRA recently posted its annual report for FY 2012 (ended February 29). https://www.hctra.org/file_download/182/TollRoad_FY2012.pdf Some highlights: * Toll revenue was $519 million, a 7.9% increase over FY 2011. Total revenue was $566 million, an increase 13.9% over FY 2011. * All toll facilities saw increased traffic except Hardy Toll Road South (down 0.4%) The Katy Freeway Toll lane traffic increased 13%. * The HCTRA section of the Fort Bend Parkway halted its four year traffic decline with a 2% increase over FY 2011. Traffic remains 13% below the 2008 peak. The Fort Bend Parkway appears to be the only HCTRA project which qualifies as an underperformer. * The busiest segment was the Sam Houston Tollway North, at 71,226,681, or about 195,000 vehicles per day. The second busiest was the Sam Houston South (US 59 to IH 10) at 69,947,937 followed by Sam Houston Central (IH 10 to US 290) at 57,501,489 followed by Westpark Tollway at 41,234,056. * $120 million was transferred out of HCTRA to finance county road projects. Another $13.2 million was allocated to an unspecified non-toll bridge project. * Total outstanding bond principal is $2.605 billion with total debt service (including interest) at $4.396 billion with scheduled payments through 2050. * Services and fees, which is probably mostly engineering consultants, was $77,813,626 Overall, the financial position of HCTRA looks good and allows HCTRA to finance its upcoming projects, including $400 million for the US 290 toll lanes. I still don't like the diversions to road projects - I would rather see the funds used to pay down debt.
http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Tolls-set-to-go-up-in-September-3703675.php I don't have any issue with this, the tolls need to keep pace with inflation like anything else. No way we're going to get any nice new roads without paying for them. Predictably, there's outrage in the Chron's comment section. To the whiners I say, "if you don't want to pay a toll don't use a toll road". Nobody said it's mandatory . . .