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  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. I'm not sure if there's a current thread on this or not, but it looks like they are moving forward with toll lanes on 288. I hadn't heard about this - much less hearing it was delayed. Anyone have any idea what the design is going to look like, particularly coming into downtown & the med center? http://blog.chron.com/thehighwayman/2015/10/texas-288-toll-lane-work-expected-mid-2016/
  4. Has anyone driven this yet? I would imagine this will greatly improve the lives of people in the area between 59 and 288. This seemed to built fairly quickly. How does it tie into the beltway? Is there a ramp? Just wondering.
  5. How do they plan to squeeze a freeway into the right away on South Post Oak (between Bellfort and Willowbend Blvd)??? I've been trying to find some schematics because I'm curious as to how they will do it without tearing down every business along that route.
  6. This will be slightly more convenient for drivers at best, but it's taking property out of an area that is improving due to the light rail. Seems like such a contradiction. As usual putting the highway through a minority neighborhood. Try putting it through piney point village or west university and see if it would go through. This is sad an unnecessary.
  7. Surprised no one has shared this yet. Click2Houston Looks like it's to settle an absurd amount of Admin Fees for not paying tolls.
  8. So they're opening the new 249 toll road this Sunday. My question is, who paid for the old section of the new toll road where the signs have been posted for years stating "Future Toll Road" around 2920? Are we going to be charged to drive on a toll road that was built with TXDOT funds?
  9. HCTRA's annual report for FY 2013 was recently posted on their site https://www.hctra.org/about_reports/ Observations * Overall traffic count up 4.9% to 428,307,389 (1.173 million/day) * The Katy managed lanes showed the biggest percent increase in traffic count at 20.2% followed by the Sam Houston Tollway Northeast (18.6%) and the Ship Channel Bridge (10.8%) * The traffic leaders remained the same as last year: Sam Houston Tollway north (IH 45N to US 290) at 203k vpd, Sam Houston Tollway South (IH 10W to US 59S) at 197k vpd, and Sam Houston Central (US 290 to IH 10) at 161k vpd * The Westpark Tollway was 119k vpd, up 5.7% but still below its 2008 peak of 125k vpd. Traffic dropped 14.5% from 2008 to 2010 due to the completion of the Katy Freeway expansion in 2008. * The Fort Bend Parkway connection continued to slowly increase, rising 8.6% to 9471 vpd. But it remains below its 2008 peak of 9987 vpd. * Hardy Toll Road north increased 4.3% to 50.5k vpd and Hardy Toll Road South increased 4.5% to 58.2k vpd. * Overall Revenue increased 7.85% to $560.1 million * Revenue leader was the Sam Houston Tollway North at $93.2 million, up 8.6%, followed by Sam Houston Tollway South at $87.6 million, up 6.3% * The Katy Managed lanes reported $10.3 million in revenue on a traffic count of 19.3 million. This seems unexpected to me since I thought most traffic was at peak periods when tolls are high. * Biggest percent gainers were the Katy Managed Lanes at 28.9%, Sam Houston Tollway Northeast at 22.3%, Fort Bend Parkway connection at 12.2% and the Ship Channel Bridge at 10.5% * $120 million in revenue was transferred out of HCTRA to the Harris county road fund. "The Commissioners Court approved a $120 million annual allocation for funding of a County thoroughfare program to increase general mobility." This was down from $133.5 million in 2012. With Houston's economy booming and traffic congestion worsening, I think a good performance was expected. In fact, I would have expected a somewhat higher traffic increase on the toll roads. But with the cash-cow sections of the Sam Houston Tollway at or near capacity at rush hour, growth will have to come from the facilities with less traffic.
  10. Lot clearing has begun on the SE corner of Westpark Tollway at Peek. Any idea what's going in? I found this... looks like maybe a Stripes on that corner, but I can't tell for sure: http://www.loopnet.c...ay-Richmond-TX/
  11. 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.
  12. 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 . . .
  13. Proposal would add toll lanes to U.S. 290 and Texas 288 Commissioners will soon vote on deal to jump-start project By Mike Morris Updated 11:41 p.m., Thursday, April 5, 2012 Projects to widen U.S. 290 and Texas 288 with a mix of free and toll lanes in an attempt to ease congestion in the traffic-choked corridors would get a jump-start under a proposed agreement between Harris County and the Texas Department of Transportation. The deal, scheduled for a vote by Commissioners Court next Tuesday, also foresees the state building a direct connection from Texas 288 to the Texas Medical Center, as well as improving nearby Almeda and Cullen. TxDOT spokesman Bob Kaufman said work on U.S. 290 could start early next year; he declined to say when dirt could turn on Texas 288, but said environmental work is under way. "This is an important step that says we're going to work on this program together, we're both going to bring funding to it, the toll road authority will collect tolls to help pay for it, and it's going to address in an aggressive way the congestion on 290," said Art Storey, the county's director of public infrastructure, who oversees the Harris County Toll Road Authority. Storey said the details of each project still need to be worked out. 2 commissioners wary County Judge Ed Emmett called the agreement exciting, and said it was the product of months of negotiations between state officials and court members. "It's a lot of projects at a time when everybody else is wringing their hands going, 'Gee, what are we going to be able to do?' " he said. "To finally tell people who use 290 and 288, 'Here's a definitive plan and it's going to start sooner rather than later,' I think is a big plus." Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve Radack, through whose precinct a large part of U.S. 290 passes, was more wary. The county, he said, has not been repaid for $77 million it spent developing Segment E of the Grand Parkway before turning the job over to the state. Radack said he would like that back before the county contributes a proposed $400 million to help build U.S. 290, which is under the state's jurisdiction. "What they're asking the county to do is participate in order to get something done," Radack said. "So, we're saying we'll look at participating, but let's look at what y'all are proposing and is it a good plan for the county. It's not Harris County's fault that the state of Texas doesn't have the money to do what is their responsibility." Precinct 2 Commissioner Jack Morman also expressed skepticism, but for a different reason. TxDOT must not neglect Texas 146, the widening of the southeastern portion of Beltway 8, or the expansion of the Ship Channel bridge, he said. "We need a funded plan for all major Harris County projects," Morman said. "So far the focus has been on Grand Parkway and 290. That's fine, but I won't let the east side take a back seat." In 'striking distance' The proposal envisions a free lane being added in each direction on U.S. 290 between the 610 Loop and the Grand Parkway, and two to three managed lanes in the center. There is disagreement about which directions those lanes should flow at what times. The plan for Texas 288, according to the agreement, would see two toll lanes added from U.S. 59 to near the Brazoria County line. TxDOT's Kaufman said it is too early to discuss details on either project. Alan Clark, head of transportation planning for the Houston-Galveston Area Council, said the agreement puts long hoped-for improvements "within striking distance." Both stretches of U.S. 290 and Texas 288 are among TxDOT's 100 most-congested road segments. "None of this would be possible if it weren't for our ability to use toll financing on some of these projects," he said. "The funding shortfall is still very much present when we're talking about adding or constructing lanes that would not be tolled." Cautionary note Citizens Transportation Coalition board chairwoman Marci Perry and advocacy chairwoman Carol Caul said they support improvements to the congested section of U.S. 290 inside Highway 6, but said population statistics do not support such an investment much beyond that point. Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle, whose district is home to a large section of U.S. 290, said there is no question that both projects are needed. "If we want to continue the economic growth and the prosperity that we have, we have to address mobility," Cagle said. "If this agreement is signed, it'll be a signal to everyone, not just within our region but … to the entire nation, that 'Houston is ready to do business - come on down.' " http://www.chron.com...and-3462888.php
  14. Does anyone know what is being built on the NE corner of 99 and Westpark tollway - I think this area used to be called Grand Corner.
  15. Found this on a surveying website: http://gmont.com/the-woodlands-research-forest.htm If this is true, we would have heard something about this, right?
  16. I was just looking at the TxDOT 290 plans, and wonder what is going to happen around the Fry Road area (Black Horse) and the new NW Toll Rd. The TxDOT map looks like the new toll road will be right next to BlackHorse (South of the rail line) along Mound Road. Anybody know the real ROW? Won't this just kill Blackhorse and Cypress Creek Ranch?
  17. Ha not long ago during the election I got blasted because I spoke out about people putting Ed Emmitt back in office. Well guess what ole Ed is back in and he and his cronies are already making up for lost time. Boom raised the tolls on the West Park and Boom raising the tolls on the Main Beltway lanes. Not enough money. My ass they are just a bunch of money hungry crooks. Again we can't even vote on the man and he affects all of us out here which is wrong. Ok go ahead and flame again.
  18. This in Today's Chronicle. http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/m...politan/3260459 I am uncomfortable with the government abdicating its responsibility under the guise of being cash strapped, or saying private companies are more efficient. The gas tax hasn't been raised in years, so has been eroded by inflation. Because of its 'lower taxes' stance, the government will not increase the tax to raise needed revenue. So instead, they just let these toll roads go in, so they can claim they didn't raise taxes. If you save money on income tax, only to put it in a toll receptacle, did your government really save you any money? And what accoutability does a private company (from Spain, no less!) have to the voters?
  19. looks like Montgomery county is really looking to put 2 toll flyovers to exit onto 242 (east and west). the commissioners will vote on the rate in the next few weeks.
  20. Interesting read. http://www.ctchouston.org/blogs/christof/2...-a-blank-check/ The one that stands out to me the most is the eastern extension of Westpark. It would be elevated, so it would rise about the homes on the south side of Westpark. Then again, that's probably what folks there would prefer over a train. This follows the news reported by Chron a few days ago of a bill passed by the Senate that would allow HCTRA to be TxDOT's implementer of tollways in the Houston area. It's in the same bill that put the 2-year moratorium on private tollways.
  21. I heard from a guy at work that this may be in the works, anybody know for sure if this is a 'for sure' thing? I know they have a ways to go before 249 is complete, especially the Tomball bypass part, just curious. Thanks, --Alan
  22. Harris County will help pay off a 26 million dollar loan for land the Houston Texans use for parking and their bubble practice field. The Harris county convention and sports corporation is unable to pay because the hotel/motel funds are lower than expected. Now the county will step in using funds from the Harris County Toll Road Authority. Should toll road funds be used for this?
  23. College Station, TxDOT consider Hwy 6 toll roads http://media.www.thebatt.com/media/storage...gepublisher.com Because of construction and subsequent traffic, Highway 6 is being used as a north and south route for local traffic, instead of regional traffic, said Kevin Fogle, transportation planner for the city of College Station. As a solution, there have been talks about adding toll roads to Highway 6, said Bob Colwell, public information officer of the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT). "Making toll roads will help us to do projects faster," he said. Colwell said adding toll roads could happen in the near future, if the public supports the issue. "We want to do what the public wants," he said. When it comes to completing construction projects in a timely manner, money is a big problem, Colwell said. Toll roads would help get more money and contribute to the solution, he said. "The estimated cost of maintaining and constructing road improvement over the next 25 years is $1 billion," Colwell said. Fogle said money has been an imperative issue in completing construction throughout town. "We are struggling to find money for road improvement," Fogle said. "We need $40 million just to get caught up." Not only are city officials looking to add toll roads to Highway 6, but there is also serious consideration of expanding it to six lanes, Fogle said. "Highway 6 is supposed to be used for regional traffic, but because there is so much traffic inward in town, people use Highway 6 locally as an alternate north and south route," he said. The city of College Station and TXDOT are working together to find a solution to this problem, Fogle said. "There are only three north and south routes throughout the city," he said. In order to complete these alternate routes and fix the current north and south routes, money has to be acquired, Fogle said. "The Texas Avenue project alone is costing an estimated $17 million," he said. Fogle said when there is an increased capacity on one road, there is usually a balance, because people will take alternate routes, but with the current problem of lack of alternate routes, traffic flow has stayed congested. "If we create alternate routes it will improve traffic flow," he said. "If we sit back and not do anything, it will continue to get worse, it is just a waiting game to find the money." Jason Jarrell, a senior civil engineering major, said money is a factor, but if toll roads are created, then traffic will just be pushed inward into town, because no one would want to use the toll roads. "Any city you go to, there will be construction and traffic, it's just a fact of life," he said. "But I don't think toll roads are necessarily a good solution to the problem." Ric Williamson, chair of the Texas Transportation Commission, said, in his letter regarding the strategic plan for 2007-2011, there will have to be options explored through out the state of Texas. "The Texas transportation system does not meet the needs of our rapidly increasing population," Williamson said. "We believe reducing congestion, improving air quality, enhancing safety, encouraging economic opportunity and preserving the value of our transportation system are goals shared by all Texans - we intend to reach these goals by using every financial option granted to us."
  24. toll road proposal draws fire "The sum would apply to three tollways totaling more than 80 miles: 15 miles along U.S. 290 from Loop 610 to Huffmeister, 53 miles of the proposed Grand Parkway (Texas 99) from the Katy Freeway to the Eastex Freeway (this would include the Segment F-2 in the Spring area that is under contention), and 14 miles of the Sam Houston Tollway, extending it from the Eastex Freeway to U.S. 90."
  25. (I just received this information this morning:) "Dear CTC members and friends: In other Harris County news this week, Art Storey told Commissioners' Court that he has directed the Toll Road Authority (HCTRA) to suspend project development on the Grand Parkway (and other projects that fall in TxDOT's right of way or the state highway system) until the County reaches a revenue-sharing agreement with TxDOT. (Note that TxDOT's development efforts continue.) Storey explains the decision in a letter to the Commissioners and a letter to HCTRA. I've posted excerpts in CTC's online forum here: http://www.ctchouston.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=10 I'm interested to hear your reactions. Please feel free to post your thoughts in the forum. If you have not yet registered to use CTC's forum, instructions are here: http://www.ctchouston.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=28 Thanks, Robin"
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