Sure you might think of the hustle and bustle of a large city when you think of tollways. I myself can’t help but think more of the scam and hustle of toll roads and how we have been hustled into poor people sit in traffic, while rich people get big plush wide open lanes of “not-so-free” ways.
I-10 has this two lane section of E-Z Tag only toll road area that never seems to have any cars in it while the other three or four lanes are congested all of the time. The tough part to take in is that the E-Z Tag toll section is really 4+ lanes in width but only two lanes are functional and the rest is huge shoulder area. To top it off, is the use of imminent domain and taking of people’s property for the “for profit” section that makes no profit, while imminent domain is supposed to be used for tax payer benefit. So basically, your tax dollar went to making a wider road with less lanes so 4 lanes of space can generate a dollar an hour.
The whole changing Hardy Toll Road into E-Z Tag only is like making a 100% elitist highway. “Look at all of the poor people who used to use pennies to cut out traffic time having to go back down with the rest of the peasants. I’m so rich I don’t have to care how much I’m racking up in tolls,” or some crap like that. What do snobs think all of the time? I’m sure it’s something like that.
The Hardy Toll Road and Beltway 8 were supposed to be free once they had made enough money to cover their construction.
We found this brochure from the early days of the Toll Road Authority, printed just after we OK’ed building the West Belt and the Hardy Toll Road. The promise was simple: “When both roads combined have covered their costs, the roads will become free public highways.”
So basically, as it was sold to the voters, we would pay a small fee to use the toll road and cut out traffic and take shortcuts to other parts of the county. After the toll road made enough money to pay for it’s construction, the toll road would then be free of cost.
Instead, they created an E-Z Tag so you can finance your way home and not care how much you’re spending. Preventing yourself from cutting back because actually handing someone money – cash money – does more psychologically to make you realize how much you spend, than the carefree/careless finance-a-shortcut method.
These combination highways/toll roads are even worse. They are taking land that was obtained through tax payer money, then expanding the highway by taking more land using tax payer money, to add a few lanes to the highway and make that portion toll only. Get this, hardly anyone uses it now and the other lanes are at a standstill because the free lanes are bottlenecked at all of the ons and offs of the toll lanes.
Fact is, if the tollways were opened and free, a lot less traffic would be found on the other highways. 290 wouldn’t be in constant repair. The traffic would break up a small amount more evenly; but no, we need a bunch of roads that only snobs can drive on. Leave the poor to sweat and overheat in the only option available to them.
No more toll-roads, HCTRA needs to be removed from our city. We do not need to pay them to make it easier for us to pay them for what we have already paid for.