Your Highway Tolls Are Going Up

Categories: Transportation

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Fresh off its registration-blocking, car-impounding victory in the state legislature this month, the North Texas Tollway Authority is hiking the cost of driving on its roads.

The agency announced this morning that toll rates are increasing by slightly less than a penny per mile come July 1, from 15.3 cents to 16.2 cents.

The agency's press release takes pains to stress what a slight increase this represents and that the increase was approved way back in 2009, when the NTTA announced a biennial adjustment of toll rates. It would also like to remind you that it does not use tax dollars, relying instead on tolls that "go directly toward quality maintenance of existing tollways and the NTTA's safety and service programs."

Still, those pennies add up for commuters who drive the tollway every day. Those driving the entire, 32-mile length of the Dallas North Tollway two times every weekday will pay an extra 50 cents or so per day, about $2.50 extra per week, and more than $100 per year. These things add up.

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58 comments
BO105
BO105

As long as Sandra Fluke gets her free birth control pills what difference does it make?

MikeWestEast
MikeWestEast

Tolls vs. taxes.  Always choose tolls because you can avoid tolls if you spend more time.  More things paid by taxes should have user fees.  This "we are all in it together" stuff is mostly hogwash.  We are in it together fighting North Koreans or fighting a forest fire or getting a poor kid braces.  We are not in it together when you want to drive to Collin County and I stay on city streets.

JasonDFWlistening
JasonDFWlistening

Not even Shane Carruth could make sense of the complicated Interstate Highway system. The director of Primer and Upstream Color had to abandon his film about the subject. 

Maybe it's for the best that "A Topiary" was never made.  Some things are better left underground.

     

todd
todd

This is not a ride a Six Flags where you have to go where that rail takes you.  The car you operate has a steering wheel that allows you to change your direction.  If the tollway is too expensive, don't use it.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

For the rates given this is equivalent to a gasoline tax of about $3.24 per gallon based on 20 MPG.  Your results may vary.


The main problem that I have with the toll rate structure is that it is not based upon the cost to construct and maintain the roadway, but rather what can be obtained from the users and the excess is used for other projects.  Does any remember the imbroglio a few years back when Li'l Ricky tried to put the excess money from the sale of the toll road rights into the general fund?

Joe Downey
Joe Downey

You voted fro this Happy Motoring

whocareswhatithink
whocareswhatithink

Have you not heard...the reserve white flight is going on. Everyone will be back in the cities and tolls will be left to the poor.

Stephen Hays
Stephen Hays

I actually have no problem paying my fair share to use the tollways. What about the people who are dodging paying tolls. Whatever happened to them? If they had been paying, the rate increase probably wouldn't be necessary. I bet those are the same people saying federal taxes should be higher b/c its fair, right?

Damien Snavely
Damien Snavely

And for those that have s toll tag registered to your vehicle, if the tag isn't in the vehicle or if its simply not read by the scanners, you will be charged the zip cash rate. I have a tag for my motorcycle and there's not a good place to Mount it because there's no windshield so I'm penalized with the higher rates. I was told no additional adjustments would be made going forward. So I've stopped taking tolls

Diane Treider
Diane Treider

Hey DO - could you do a survey/article on what it will take for average Texans to get pissed off enough to vote and take back their state? k.thx.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

I just love quasi-government agencies that use an implicit inflator in their budget projections.  "Our costs are going up, therefor we must increase our revenues.  Our revenues have increased, therefor we must increase our spending."

Erica Denise
Erica Denise

This will push me over the $100/mo mark for my shitty commute. Thanks, Dallas!

Reza Norouzi
Reza Norouzi

Rick Perry is in office and he is a Republican.

Dave Hilliard
Dave Hilliard

On I-44 South of OKC there used to be signs at the tollbooths saying when the interstate would be paid for thanks to our tolls...that was around '79.

Esteban Mainzer
Esteban Mainzer

it's those GREEDY republicans in office! oh...wait...nevermind.

Scott Strong
Scott Strong

You mean to tell me that the toll road will never be a freeway ever again!? And it will just get more expensive?!

patrick.j.kennedy
patrick.j.kennedy

It's increased taxes or tolls. Pick one. We've overbuilt infrastructure that we can't maintain and we're just seeing the beginning.

roadsidecouch
roadsidecouch

@MikeWestEast  So on segment of society pays for its roads but everyone else drives on their roads for free.   Sort of like one segment of society pays no taxes and draws food stamps, disability, or welfare while the other works to pay the taxes that go to other people sitting on their ass.  Yeah that's the ticket.

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

@MikeWestEast  Yea - why pay a tax to build/fix roads in parts of Texas you don't live.  If it doesn't benefit you directly it isn't worth doing.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum topcommenter

@todd Problem with that statement is that these toll roads have prime real estate that makes them very convenient to use. To avoid them is to prolong your transit time, sometimes by twice as long or more. Why must they be toll roads if they have been paid for? Maintenance? I'm sure they could charge significantly less if it was just for maintenance.

EdD.
EdD.

@Esteban Mainzer Stephen Harper is in office and he's a Canadian. 


(This is Fun Facts About Random Politcians Week, right?)

iaintgotnone
iaintgotnone

@Esteban Mainzer Wow good job, want a cookie?

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

@Diane Treider Satan on Ice?

JoshvanHulst
JoshvanHulst

@Erica Denise Let's boycott the tollroad! Those idiots don't need our money anyway! 

anon
anon

@Erica Denise then move, or take other roads? no one is holding a gun to your head telling you to take the tollway. also, why blame Dallas? Collin County is the primary beneficiary of the NTTA.

anon
anon

@patrick.j.kennedy What I don't understand is that when you tell people how Social Security works, selling them the line that social security is "stealing from the future" is apparently a slam dunk. Tell people how highways are funded and they will swear up and down that there is no reason we need tolls or higher gas taxes, or less highway expansion. I honestly don't get it. If people want neverending highway expansion, the least they could do is agree to pay for it.

PersistentID2345
PersistentID2345

@patrick.j.kennedyOver the last 25 years, Texas’ population increased by 57 percent and road use grew by 95 percent, but the state’s road capacity grew by just 8 percent. TxDOT estimates that the state’s population will increase by another 64 percent over the next 25 years; road use will grow by 214 percent; and state road capacity will increase by just 6 percent, if current financing patterns continue.

http://www.window.state.tx.us/specialrpt/tif/transportation.html

nakedlens
nakedlens

@patrick.j.kennedy I'll take the taxes instead of the never-ending tolls.

Someone remind me again when the North Dallas Tollway was paid off.

John1073
John1073

Which is why you're an idiot.

todd
todd

@CogitoErgoSum You are paying for the convenience of a shorter trip, not the actual road.

DSmithy3211
DSmithy3211

@CogitoErgoSum So you're paying for the convenience of a shorter commute and presumably less dense traffic. Where's the problem?

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@EdD. The Prime Minister of Australia is not a head of state, which is why he is not greeted by the President, when the PM visits the US.

iaintgotnone
iaintgotnone

@anon Sure lets allow everybody to make everything inconvenant for everybody. Who cares about what we, the citizens, want.


patrick.j.kennedy
patrick.j.kennedy

Texas and its major metropolitan areas (and presumably everywhere else) have the highest rates of car dependence as well, Houston and DFW have car commuting rates of 95% and 96% respectively. They look at numbers in the wrong way. They're suggesting that we are underserved in terms of infrastructure therefore they can use these numbers to go to state and fed gov to get more money. They're in the business of staying in business and that means building more highways and more highways. However, TxDOT is also severely in debt and can't maintain the roads that we do have. The answer is working the demand side, getting people out of cars, not supply side of more highway capacity, which just instills even greater car dependence. Instead, they, and we, should be looking at other numbers such as infrastructure and highway capacity per capita to get maintenance capabilities back in line. For example, Dallas and Houston have 1.5x the highway lane miles per capita that does Austin (city proper only). Austin has highway lane miles/capita that is 2x what Portland and Seattle have. Portland and Seattle have 3x what Manhattan has. In other words, Dallas and Houston have 9x the highway lane miles per capita that Manhattan has, and Manhattan has higher incomes.

patrick.j.kennedy
patrick.j.kennedy

Fair enough. It wasn't a leading question, just an open and honest one worth debating.

todd
todd

@CogitoErgoSum Because 635 is NOT convenient.  When you use the tollway, you are paying for its convenience and nothing else.  Construction costs covered is irrelevant.  The road, paid for or not, is  more convenient than the alternatives and that is what you are paying for.  That's why you don't have to pay to use less convenient alternatives like 635.           

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum topcommenter

@todd @roadsidecouch Tell me again why these roads must be pay-to-play once their construction costs are covered? Why isn't 635 a toll road? Because it's an interstate loop?

todd
todd

@roadsidecouch I don't understand your point.  None of the roads you mentioned are tollways.  Why would I pay to drive on them?  Those are the roads I take when I CHOOSE not to use the tolllway.  If you don't want to pay to drive east-west, there are numerous alternatives.  NW Hwy, Royal Ln, 635 all waiting for you and your car to not have to pay to drive on them.       

roadsidecouch
roadsidecouch

@todd @CogitoErgoSum Why don't you pay for the convince of using I35, or I45 and Central, or I20, or I30?  Why should people on the North side of town have to pay money to drive on a highway that goes East-West?  Yet others pay nothing to drive their sections of the interstates?  

DSmithy3211
DSmithy3211

@iaintgotnone @anon It's not inconvenient for me. Why should my tax money go to pay for your road? Who cares what we, the tax payers, want?

bealotcoolerifyoudid
bealotcoolerifyoudid

@patrick.j.kennedy 1) Austin traffic is horrendous.  I want no part of it.  2) How much does it cost to live in Manhattan?  I can actually afford to pay my bills and go out in Dallas.  I doubt I could even afford a decent apartment in Manhattan.  3) I agree with the premise of making things more walkable, promote increased density, mixed-use etc. (I just find your talking point unpersuasive like the Mike Dunlap guy from a couple days ago).    But that is expensive and doesn't deal with the way that Dallas has sprawled. 

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