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Bob View Drop Down
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    Posted: 28 Dec 2007 at 11:40am
Tolls to hit $1 a mile on 91 Express Lanes

Friday afternoon drivers will pay up to $10 for a quicker commute.
By David Reyes, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
December 28, 2007
First came the $5 cup of coffee. Then the $10 movie ticket. Now get ready to pay $10 to drive a toll road -- about $1 a mile. And that doesn't even include the gas. Or the coffee.

Starting next week, Friday-afternoon commuters on the eastbound 91 Express Lanes will have to dip deeper into their wallets to escape endless congestion on the Riverside Freeway. The $10 toll is among the highest in the nation and comes nine months after the boost to $9.25. It will be in effect from 3 to 4 p.m.


Graphic
3 p.m.? A buck a mile on the 91 Express Lanes
click to enlarge
Express lane officials argue that the toll lanes are too popular, which slows travel for paying customers.

By using so-called congestion pricing, they hope to persuade some commuters to travel during cheaper hours.

But frequent express-lane commuters are crying foul, saying that as the Inland Empire's population swells, more traffic is added to the daily commute, negating any positive effects from higher rates.


http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-tolls28dec28,1,2059181.story?coll=la-headlines-california&ctrack=1&cset=true
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote n/a Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Feb 2008 at 12:46pm
Eleven miles between Springfield and the Pentagon; that's $11.00 each way! That's $22.00 each day, $440.00 each month,$5280.00 each year, per commuter of discretionary money robbed from the local economy!

For every 200 former slug drivers who choose to drive alone: that's $1,056,000.00 each year that leaves the Springfield economy, leaves the USA, and flies off to Austrialia. Plus, thats 400 slug riders (minimum) who now must find other rides or who will also drive. Strangely enough, its also 3,000,000 million additional annual vehicle miles that will need to be driven to make the additional commutes between Springfield and the Pentagon. And that's only the effects of 200 daily HOT/SOV commuters.

How again is HOT a good thing?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cavvie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Feb 2008 at 11:07pm
Even more important is:

HOV-3 vehicles which use to travel for free and which the Commonwealth has now agreed to pay Transurban of Australia 70% of the existing toll once HOV-3 volume exceeds 24% of the total traffic volume. . . .soooooo taxpayers of Virginia lets do the math.

2000 Springfield HOV-3 vehicles equates to $7,392,000 of Virginia Commonwealth tax revenue that leaves the Virginia economy, leaves the USA, and flies off to Australia.

And this is just Springfield HOV-3. Based on these figures, how long do you think HOV-3 will remain "free"? Funny how that fact never makes the news.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jody Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Feb 2008 at 1:29pm
I wrote my delegate about the proposed toll roads and how this is going to affect HOV lanes. Here is his response:

Thanks for writing. Here is some info for you. HOV 3 was studied by VDOT and it was determined that HOV 3 would pack HOV lanes so tight on 95, there would be no advantage to getting on the HOV.

Here is the study:

http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/studynova-hov395over.asp

Hybrid's are allowed on HOV, but only Hybrid plates purchased before July 1, 2006 can be used. This was the compromise made in 2006.

As for HOT lanes, this proposal allows HOV lanes to be used by HOV 3 and those who want to pay. The contract states that the average speed on the HOT lanes shall be 55 mph. Whenever so many cars pay to get on the HOT lanes that the speed reduces to below 55, the price goes up. The price continues to go up until it gets so high that no one will pay it. Then as the traffic disapaits, the price goes down.

I know it sounds wierd, but this system works in California, so this is not a new concept.

The HOT lane proposal is not final on 95. The proposal is final on 495.

The reason the state is pursuing this is that adding lanes to the Beltway, 95/395 would cost the state $3 Billion. That would be financed through a local gas tax, which would have to be approximately 25 cents a gallon. Since no one wanted a 25 cent per gallon local gas tax, using private investors to build the HOT lanes was chosen.

My delegate believes when the toll becomes high, no one will pay the toll to get on HOV. Single drivers have been waiting for years to access the HOV lanes.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NoSUV Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Feb 2008 at 2:59pm
Jody,

Recommend reengaging your delegate with a question about future growth in the region, and if the roads built with the public-private enterprise will be sufficient for the next 80 years.

The contract allows the private contractors to receive toll revenue for 80 years. It stands to reason that if any additional roads were built during that time period, then there would be less revenue on the HOT lanes. That means that either there will be no additional roads, or the Commonwealth will have to provide compensation. If one were to look back to 80 years ago (circa pre WWII) and take away all roads built along the corridor since then, it becomes obvious that growth (and more roads) will be needed prior to 2090.

In other words, even if the toll for SOV is raised to $100/mile, it is probable that by mid-century that the road will be too congested with HOV-3 to maintain any reasonable speed.

Perhaps your delegate (and state senator) can tell you how they plan to solve THAT problem!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote n/a Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Feb 2008 at 12:53pm
quote:
Originally posted by NoSUV
[br]Jody,

Recommend reengaging your delegate with a question about future growth in the region, and if the roads built with the public-private enterprise will be sufficient for the next 80 years.

The contract allows the private contractors to receive toll revenue for 80 years. It stands to reason that if any additional roads were built during that time period, then there would be less revenue on the HOT lanes. That means that either there will be no additional roads, or the Commonwealth will have to provide compensation. If one were to look back to 80 years ago (circa pre WWII) and take away all roads built along the corridor since then, it becomes obvious that growth (and more roads) will be needed prior to 2090.

In other words, even if the toll for SOV is raised to $100/mile, it is probable that by mid-century that the road will be too congested with HOV-3 to maintain any reasonable speed.

Perhaps your delegate (and state senator) can tell you how they plan to solve THAT problem!



Actually, in this case NoSUV we agree! The contract for I495 is written in such a way to GUARANTEE that Transurban/Fleur earns a profit. Trans/Fleur has recourse:

-if HOV3 (non-paying) exceeds a certain % of total traffic volume, they can renegotiate to toll all vehicles including HOV3,
-if another road deemed to compete with the HOT lanes exists or is built and diverts trafic from HOT lanes, they can petition for reimbursements to make up for lost toll revenues (paid for by tax dollars),
-or if they are not earning enough revenues from the existing toll structure that create a substantial profit, they can raise tolls without limits or restrictions.

BTW, the HOT lanes on I495 are being built, in part, with funding by VDOT (yes, those are our tax dollars).

The only beneficiary of HOT lanes is the contractor, in this case Transurban/Fleur, and the only source of funding is the commuter/taxpayer.

So, gas tax or not, we pay! And I suspect the gas tax assessments your delegate mentions here would be far less than 25 cents a gallon if they are distributed statewide and assessed to ALL Virginia gas consumers. Let's face it, NoVA has been carrying the rest of the state on our backs with tax revenues for so long that this gas assessment should be distributed back to the rest of the state as well.

And if you read some of the links on this forum, you'll see that despite what your delegate says, HOT lanes in California and in other states are far from trouble free!

VDOT is not accountable! Barbara Reese is a pirate! HOT is highway robbery!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote scottt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Feb 2008 at 8:13am
Those who think that HOV3 will be (and continue to be) free are lying to themselves. In CA, on the 91 express lanes, before they were built we were promised HOV3 would be free. It was.....for a short time.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NoSUV Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Feb 2008 at 1:33pm
quote:
Originally posted by scottt
[br]Those who think that HOV3 will be (and continue to be) free are lying to themselves. In CA, on the 91 express lanes, before they were built we were promised HOV3 would be free. It was.....for a short time.


scottt,
CA-91 is still free for HOV-3 in the express lanes. They are required to have a FastTrac, though.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CallmeMrSlug Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Feb 2008 at 2:33pm
Well, not always free NoSUV. There is this limitation in their policy:

http://www.91expresslanes.com/generalinfo/tollpolicy.asp

Vehicles with three or more persons (HOV3+), zero emission vehicles (ZEVs), motorcycles, disabled plates and disabled veterans are permitted to ride free in the 91 Express Lanes during most hours. The exception is Monday through Friday 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the eastbound direction when these users pay 50 percent of the toll. The exception that these users pay 50 percent remains in effect until such time as the Debt Service Coverage Ratio - inclusive of senior and subordinated debt - is projected to be 1.2 or greater for a six month period. At that time, HOV3+ users will ride free all day, every day.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CallmeMrSlug Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Feb 2008 at 2:42pm
Some further notes which should be of interest to those who commute from further out:

http://www.91expresslanes.com/tollschedules.asp

That is the toll schedule. The average toll between 6 and 9:00 am for the busy direction is about 4.00. For the return drive from 4-6:00, it is about 8.00. That is 12.00 a day at peak hours when most employers work.

Most employees work 21 days a month, so that is 252.00 a MONTH under congestion pricing for peak drive time. That is 3024.00 a year to drive in the express lanes out there. There is a reason they call them the "lexus lanes" because they price out the average citizen whose taxes built the road to begin with.

Also note that the 91 Express length is only 10 miles. That is not even the distance from Fredericksburg to Stafford. From Stafford to DC, that is what, let's just say 40 miles, to be conservative. Assuming the 91 express tolls apply here, they would cost at least $1008 a month to commute to DC, or $12096 in tolls a year.

If they give the driver a "break" for having three in the car, that is still over 6,000 a year from Stafford to DC.

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