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View Poll Results: Do you think its a good idea?
YES 17 53.13%
NO 15 46.88%
Voters: 32. You may not vote on this poll

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  #61  
Old Posted Dec 5, 2007, 8:34 AM
coddat coddat is offline
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Another Kudos for TXlifeguard, very well written and thought out. I also have to disagree on some minor points. I think it's the small faction of people living in Stone Oak that believe that the toll road is a bad thing. Living inside 410, and having to go out that way maybe 3 or 4 times a year to me a toll road makes since. I don't mind paying for the convenience , just like the convenience that the Dallas North Tollway provides here in Dallas. It's easier to jump on and get between Downtown Dallas and the Northern Suburbs.
Second, the first light rail line was not comprehensive and fair for all sides of town. It was being sold a a total and complete package, yet their was not a NE side rail line. There was a NW and NC, but nothing to serve the booming NE side suburbs and relieve I-35. If it had been offered as a starter system like Houston's or a full light rail system you probably would have seen it pass.
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  #62  
Old Posted Dec 5, 2007, 3:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXlifeguard View Post
7. nano called the 281 north toll project a moneymaker for transnational corporations. I'd suggest reading the express-news on occasion, because Alamo RMA (Alamo Regional Mobility Authority - the agency overseeing the project) has said for a year now that they would build and manage the project. Of course they will have to hire a contractor to physically run the bulldozers and pavers and all, and that has already gone up for bid. You can see a list of consortium teams here: http://blogs.mysanantonio.com/weblog...ion%20List.pdf and there's not a foreign owned company anywhere near that list. Most are locally recognizable firms (unintech, raba-kistner, guerra-deberra-coody, etc). It's also codified in state law now that foreign firms cant build and run (lease-back) the 281 project. Specifically the 281 project. It has its own little law. That should help you feel better.
The same cannot be said for the 1604 project(which is the one that most concerns me) though, am i correct? I remember seeing somewhere that a spanish firm was the front runner for that one. Someone correct me if i am wrong.

Quote:
The real anger should be directed at our legislators who are more interested in giving tax breaks to voters to secure re-election than sound transportation planning
You make a great point there but i also believe that Texas' fiscal woes are contributed to debacle we call the Texas Constitution. You and i both know that it is inefficient and outdated - look at how many amendments we have, the frequency in which our legislators meet and our bloated executive branch and bureaucracy. Im not saying that a revamp of our political system would poof make problems go away, i know it is much more complicated than that. But i believe that a more efficiently run government and modern constitution could definately help keep texas ahead or with the curve. IDK, i cant stop these rants, i think its why i dont post much except pictures. I think we need to have a forum meet as well.
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  #63  
Old Posted Dec 5, 2007, 8:45 PM
Schertz1 Schertz1 is offline
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No, there are tolls planned for IH35, take a look at this link.

http://home.att.net/~texhwyman/tollsys.htm
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  #64  
Old Posted Dec 6, 2007, 2:08 AM
TXlifeguard TXlifeguard is offline
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Originally Posted by Schertz1 View Post
No, there are tolls planned for IH35, take a look at this link.

http://home.att.net/~texhwyman/tollsys.htm
Great link. I'd encourage you to READ it. While you are there, you can educate yourself on the difference between an exclusively TOLL only road, and a road with tolled express lanes. IH-35 is only in initial discussion phases, and at that, only tolled EXPRESS LANES are planned. reading about half a page down in the link you provided lies this gem, "Tolled managed express lanes: On roads that already have toll-free freeway lanes, those existing mainlanes would remain free, but new express lanes built in the median of the freeway would be tolled. These lanes would be barrier-separated and would have limited entry and exit points. It might be possible for these lanes to also double as HOV and/or bus lanes, known as HOT (High Occupancy/Toll) lanes. This type of tollway is currently proposed for Loop 1604 North and is being investigated for I-35 and I-10."

This was the point I was trying to make - IH-35 is only in consideration for tolled express lanes. I'll also take this opportunity to encourage you to educate yourself on the difference between the two - cause it's a huge difference. As I said earlier, since you seem to be real concerned about the issue, the least you can do is be informed about the not-so-subtle differences that end up making all the difference in the world.
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  #65  
Old Posted Dec 6, 2007, 3:02 AM
Schertz1 Schertz1 is offline
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First, I know the difference between toll roads and roads with tolled express lanes. Thanks though.

The point is the money to provide overpasses for 281 have been in place for a while. The fact this money has not been used for its intended purpose is a big problem for me. If used, as planned, much of the traffic nightmare on 281 would be alleviated. Who do you think wants to travel on signaled access roads when something better has been provided for? I would have no problem if the 281 project also contained free express lanes.

The IH35 plan is not even factual. Where are these so called medians between 1604 and downtown? You are so caught up in your support for toll roads you will believe anything in print. Newsflash, just because you read it does not make it so.

The truth is the majority of people oppose these projects; that should be enough.
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  #66  
Old Posted Dec 6, 2007, 3:47 AM
TXlifeguard TXlifeguard is offline
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Originally Posted by Schertz1 View Post
First, I know the difference between toll roads and roads with tolled express lanes. Thanks though.

The point is the money to provide overpasses for 281 have been in place for a while. The fact this money has not been used for its intended purpose is a big problem for me. If used, as planned, much of the traffic nightmare on 281 would be alleviated. Who do you think wants to travel on signaled access roads when something better has been provided for? I would have no problem if the 281 project also contained free express lanes.

The IH35 plan is not even factual. Where are these so called medians between 1604 and downtown? You are so caught up in your support for toll roads you will believe anything in print. Newsflash, just because you read it does not make it so.

The truth is the majority of people oppose these projects; that should be enough.
See, I really don't think you did. Cause you wouldn't have claimed the they were wanting toll the existing mainlanes if you did - cause it doesn't say that in any literature anywhere. I was just doing my part to call you out on it.

Secondly, do you even READ the threads you respond to? EARLIER I had already quoted from the same source you did about the alleged funding being 'already in place' for the 281 project. But for you, and those not following along at home, here it is, again; "While public documents on 281 from around 2000 show that the original project to extend the 281 freeway from Sonterra to Stone Oak was "funded", laypeople have to understand that highway funding (and government funding in general) is a very peculiar beast. A "funded" project in transportation parlance means that TxDOT and/or the MPO have identified a time in the future when projected revenues (from all applicable sources) should be available to pay for a specific project, and they budget that expected revenue for that project. But that doesn't mean they actually have the money in-hand and have put it in an account just for that project, only that they expect to have it at a certain point in the future. Lots of things can happen between the time a project is "funded" and when it's actually let for contract. For instance, the expected revenue may not materialize (which is what we're seeing right now with the federal highway funding pull-back), another project may take priority and the funding reallocated to it, the queued project may increase in cost simply because of inflation and, thus, the revenue will be insufficient to fund it, or the project may be sidetracked for a while to allow for engineering changes, which can be caused by any number of things (the world is not static after all.) So the "funded" nomenclature is really just a simple way of saying "we plan to be able to pay for it during this time frame". It's kinda like if I budget to go on a big vacation a year from now. What happens if I have to buy a new car instead, or if I lose my job? Life is dynamic, and sometimes even the best laid plans get changed through outside influences."

This also does not even mention the 20% annual construction inflation all sectors of the US construction industry are experiencing. Had terri hall and the zealots not delayed the inevitable on 281 with a lawsuit causing a 2 year delay, the inflation wouldn't have been as high as it is now and the tolls would be cheaper. So if you don't like the toll rates, feel free to blame yourself and the other anti-toll/anti-progress folx.

As for the IH-35 plan, you are right about one point, its only a plan at this point, so how are you an expert on what its going to be or what it wont be. THe only thing set in stone is that they are examining it as a corridor possible for the insertion of tolled express lanes. Theres absolutely no mention from any government agency or board that has advocated the tolling of IH-35 mainlanes (playing devils advocate here, if they were with the intent of a giant money grab, wouldnt it make sense to toll the existing lanes in areas of town that get more traffic? The IH-10/410 interchange is the busiest in town with approximately 250,000 vehicles per day. If they were doing this as a money grab and planning on tolling existing lanes, wouldnt it make sense to go there first? It would have been even easier to sneak it in now because the area is under construction and they could relate it to that. Or toll the mainlanes of ANY part of 410 on its northern arc across the city; or even IH-10 between 410 and 1604 but there's no mention of that, is there? So if it is some vast right wing conspiracy, then it's not a very good one, is it?)

But to directly answer your charge regarding medians on 35 between 1604 and downtown, it helps if you are an engineer, or at least know how to read construction documents. Hell, even living in SA for any amount of time and having seen all the construction projects going on would tell you how they would insert tolled express lanes. They would build a median where none existed before, and place the express toll lanes there. There's plenty of room available. In essence, they would scoot out the existing lanes onto the empty right of way that in most cases is currently grassy land between the main lanes and frontage road. The I35 stretch in discussion here was built inthe 60's and built with wide grassy areas outside the mainlanes and wide hilly sloping embankments at overpasses. They would make more room for moving out lanes the same way they are currently expanding 410 north - by eliminating the embankments and making the support/retaining walls vertical. An example of where this has already been done in that area is IH-35 at the George C. Beach Avenue underpass. They rebuilt the overpass there about 8 years ago to accommodate the new BAMC and the embankment walls are now vertical where they had been sloped. I don't have the 35 schematics in hand, but I'm sure a call to TxDOT could provide them. Any civil engineer would tell you I am right.

Finally, I dont believe everything I read. Since I'm not anti-toll, I also dont believe everything I hear, either. I tend to rely on and believe facts and statistics that are/could be verified though standard academic/peer review evaluation. All the sources I have used pull their data from official information that has been ruled valid in legal proceedings. That's a good enough threshold for me. When people start disbelieving data from accepted sources, then you've strayed into tin-foil hat terretory.
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  #67  
Old Posted Dec 6, 2007, 4:35 AM
Schertz1 Schertz1 is offline
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See, I really don't think you did. Cause you wouldn't have claimed the they were wanting toll the existing mainlanes if you did - cause it doesn't say that in any literature anywhere. I was just doing my part to call you out on it.

WHAT?

No really, it is pretty much a basic concept and I am not in special ed or anything.

Secondly, do you even READ the threads you respond to?

Who made you the expert on highway funding? How do you know the funds were used elsewhere? That they were never really there? The truth is you do not know, you think this may have happened.


But to directly answer your charge regarding medians on 35 between 1604 and downtown, it helps if you are an engineer, or at least know how to read construction documents. Hell, even living in SA for any amount of time and having seen all the construction projects going on would tell you how they would insert tolled express lanes.

First, I own a construction company in Houston and have no trouble understanding construction documents. I am, however, relieved to know if I ever have a problem understanding my plans I now have a place to go for help. Thanks TXlifeguard.

Second, much of IH35 already have vertical embankment walls and very little right-of-way. I see a problem with adding toll lanes, keeping 6-8 express lanes, and 2-6 access lanes. It cannot be done without taking property along the expressway. This is happening in Houston now.
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  #68  
Old Posted Dec 6, 2007, 6:46 PM
DrewDizzle DrewDizzle is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXlifeguard View Post
See, I really don't think you did. Cause you wouldn't have claimed the they were wanting toll the existing mainlanes if you did - cause it doesn't say that in any literature anywhere. I was just doing my part to call you out on it.

Secondly, do you even READ the threads you respond to? EARLIER I had already quoted from the same source you did about the alleged funding being 'already in place' for the 281 project. But for you, and those not following along at home, here it is, again; "While public documents on 281 from around 2000 show that the original project to extend the 281 freeway from Sonterra to Stone Oak was "funded", laypeople have to understand that highway funding (and government funding in general) is a very peculiar beast. A "funded" project in transportation parlance means that TxDOT and/or the MPO have identified a time in the future when projected revenues (from all applicable sources) should be available to pay for a specific project, and they budget that expected revenue for that project. But that doesn't mean they actually have the money in-hand and have put it in an account just for that project, only that they expect to have it at a certain point in the future. Lots of things can happen between the time a project is "funded" and when it's actually let for contract. For instance, the expected revenue may not materialize (which is what we're seeing right now with the federal highway funding pull-back), another project may take priority and the funding reallocated to it, the queued project may increase in cost simply because of inflation and, thus, the revenue will be insufficient to fund it, or the project may be sidetracked for a while to allow for engineering changes, which can be caused by any number of things (the world is not static after all.) So the "funded" nomenclature is really just a simple way of saying "we plan to be able to pay for it during this time frame". It's kinda like if I budget to go on a big vacation a year from now. What happens if I have to buy a new car instead, or if I lose my job? Life is dynamic, and sometimes even the best laid plans get changed through outside influences."

This also does not even mention the 20% annual construction inflation all sectors of the US construction industry are experiencing. Had terri hall and the zealots not delayed the inevitable on 281 with a lawsuit causing a 2 year delay, the inflation wouldn't have been as high as it is now and the tolls would be cheaper. So if you don't like the toll rates, feel free to blame yourself and the other anti-toll/anti-progress folx.

As for the IH-35 plan, you are right about one point, its only a plan at this point, so how are you an expert on what its going to be or what it wont be. THe only thing set in stone is that they are examining it as a corridor possible for the insertion of tolled express lanes. Theres absolutely no mention from any government agency or board that has advocated the tolling of IH-35 mainlanes (playing devils advocate here, if they were with the intent of a giant money grab, wouldnt it make sense to toll the existing lanes in areas of town that get more traffic? The IH-10/410 interchange is the busiest in town with approximately 250,000 vehicles per day. If they were doing this as a money grab and planning on tolling existing lanes, wouldnt it make sense to go there first? It would have been even easier to sneak it in now because the area is under construction and they could relate it to that. Or toll the mainlanes of ANY part of 410 on its northern arc across the city; or even IH-10 between 410 and 1604 but there's no mention of that, is there? So if it is some vast right wing conspiracy, then it's not a very good one, is it?)

But to directly answer your charge regarding medians on 35 between 1604 and downtown, it helps if you are an engineer, or at least know how to read construction documents. Hell, even living in SA for any amount of time and having seen all the construction projects going on would tell you how they would insert tolled express lanes. They would build a median where none existed before, and place the express toll lanes there. There's plenty of room available. In essence, they would scoot out the existing lanes onto the empty right of way that in most cases is currently grassy land between the main lanes and frontage road. The I35 stretch in discussion here was built inthe 60's and built with wide grassy areas outside the mainlanes and wide hilly sloping embankments at overpasses. They would make more room for moving out lanes the same way they are currently expanding 410 north - by eliminating the embankments and making the support/retaining walls vertical. An example of where this has already been done in that area is IH-35 at the George C. Beach Avenue underpass. They rebuilt the overpass there about 8 years ago to accommodate the new BAMC and the embankment walls are now vertical where they had been sloped. I don't have the 35 schematics in hand, but I'm sure a call to TxDOT could provide them. Any civil engineer would tell you I am right.

Finally, I dont believe everything I read. Since I'm not anti-toll, I also dont believe everything I hear, either. I tend to rely on and believe facts and statistics that are/could be verified though standard academic/peer review evaluation. All the sources I have used pull their data from official information that has been ruled valid in legal proceedings. That's a good enough threshold for me. When people start disbelieving data from accepted sources, then you've strayed into tin-foil hat terretory.
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  #69  
Old Posted Dec 6, 2007, 8:21 PM
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  #70  
Old Posted Dec 6, 2007, 8:49 PM
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What are we buying with all this fabulous toll money? More ETJ?
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  #71  
Old Posted Dec 8, 2007, 8:16 PM
DrewDizzle DrewDizzle is offline
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Here's my problem w/ tolls and, yes, I do realize I'm a political idealist but...

How irresponsible is it of the government to ask the taxpayers for more money when they hemorrhage huge amounts of money every year? Rhetorical question; it is very irresponsible. Why doesn't the state and federal government stop wasting money before they declare they need to raise taxes or implement a tolled highway system?
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  #72  
Old Posted Dec 8, 2007, 10:55 PM
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Originally Posted by satxgreen View Post
Do you think toll roads are a good idea for the North side of SA?
Why did you close the poll?
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  #73  
Old Posted Dec 9, 2007, 12:55 AM
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I am just a proponent of transparency in terms of what things actually cost. It's as simple as this: raising gasoline taxes puts the burden of maintaining/increasing infrastructure on those who drive across the entire state. leaving gas taxes alone but raising tolls puts the burden on maintaining/increasing infrastructure on those who use those specific roads.
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  #74  
Old Posted Dec 10, 2007, 2:33 PM
DrewDizzle DrewDizzle is offline
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Do you think its a good idea?
When I first read this thread, I was pretty ambivalent. However, having just read Ben Wear's AAS article and finding myself surprised at how many toll transactions the Austin-area roads boast on a daily basis, I think tolls are much worse sounding than they really are. I hate to say it but I believe I'm for it, especially the concept of charging knuckleheads more for living outside of town.
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  #75  
Old Posted Dec 11, 2007, 6:14 AM
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What is the purpose for a toll road?
What is the state thinking when it considers to build a road and then have its over tax paying citizen pay for the roads they use to go to work..? Every time a person in Texas puts gas in their tank they pay for the road they drive on, every time a person renews there drives license they pay for the road they drive on, and every time some one pays there county taxes they pay for the roads they drive on. Highways come from Germany and the every growing demand for cars, as the number of people increases so do the number of cars hear in the US. We get some of our greatest ideas from friends the Germans. We need to stop Spends money on roads that wont be use by our kids and start to look at high speed trains or some new form of transportation.
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  #76  
Old Posted Dec 11, 2007, 1:47 PM
DrewDizzle DrewDizzle is offline
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Originally Posted by satxgreen View Post
What is the purpose for a toll road?
What is the state thinking when it considers to build a road and then have its over tax paying citizen pay for the roads they use to go to work..? Every time a person in Texas puts gas in their tank they pay for the road they drive on, every time a person renews there drives license they pay for the road they drive on, and every time some one pays there county taxes they pay for the roads they drive on. Highways come from Germany and the every growing demand for cars, as the number of people increases so do the number of cars hear in the US. We get some of our greatest ideas from friends the Germans. We need to stop Spends money on roads that wont be use by our kids and start to look at high speed trains or some new form of transportation.
That's essentially the point I made in my first post: how dare the government toll roads when, at the very minimum, some portion of it has been paid for via taxes, fees, etc. If the government were a company, it'd be indicted for cooking the books. Gas tax revenue needs to stay away from the general fund and go to TXDOT projects, the same way lotto earnings need to go to schools, instead of the general funds (that's another thread, though).

That being said, this will never happen; governments are too-inflated and way too large for any sort of reasonable fiscal accountability. Instead of actually trying to clean up shop, the state has resorted to just finding the money in other places. If you don't like it, tough shit... it's the "way of the future".
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  #77  
Old Posted Dec 11, 2007, 3:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by satxgreen View Post
What is the purpose for a toll road?
What is the state thinking when it considers to build a road and then have its over tax paying citizen pay for the roads they use to go to work..? Every time a person in Texas puts gas in their tank they pay for the road they drive on, every time a person renews there drives license they pay for the road they drive on, and every time some one pays there county taxes they pay for the roads they drive on. Highways come from Germany and the every growing demand for cars, as the number of people increases so do the number of cars hear in the US. We get some of our greatest ideas from friends the Germans. We need to stop Spends money on roads that wont be use by our kids and start to look at high speed trains or some new form of transportation.
The gas tax you pay on the highway in no way comes remotely close to payign the bill for the road you use - the highway system covers only part of the major arterial network in Texas, and even the state highway system itself gets "contributions" from sales and property taxes.

The funding mechanism in Texas (under 'free'ways done as usual) is a huge subsidy from urban drivers to suburban and rural drivers, since more major roads in urban areas are locally maintained. Additionally, the diversion of property and sales taxes for state highways (in addition to all those local roads) is a big subsidy from non-drivers to suburban drivers.

In short: you don't remotely pay your own way if you're driving in/out/around the suburbs. Tolls are a small step in the right direction.
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  #78  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2007, 1:05 AM
TXlifeguard TXlifeguard is offline
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Originally Posted by DrewDizzle View Post
Rick Perry, is that you?
Yes.

Now I'm off to get more hairspray.
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