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(Washington Post)   Score one for capitalism: New tollroads to charge higher rates when the road is more crowded   ( divider line
    More: Spiffy  
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4999 clicks; posted to Main » on 30 Dec 2006 at 1:51 AM (11 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2006-12-30 03:30:01 AM  
I'm not sure what that means BillyPilgram. There is greed in every type of marketplace. Maybe under communism it was called mismanagement, but there's some reason a resource was considered more valuable under centralized government rather than another resource.

The communists were probably not postponing harvest or planting time because they predicted the seasons incorrectly, they were probably meeting 'manufactured' products production levels. Do you think that China's villages don't have an off-season where they are manufacturing. They have a season where they will try to grow so much food until they can be merchants in the off season.

America is forgetting the real insight.
2006-12-30 03:36:58 AM  
Wait until the North American Union toll road goes in. And all major roads becoming toll roads owned by foreign corporations... America is being sell at a low prices by foreign corporations... selling roads that were pay by your taxes.
2006-12-30 03:43:56 AM  
0Icky0 ftw!
2006-12-30 03:45:11 AM  
America is screwed when we begin turning our national infrastructure that was paid for with tax dollars over to private corporations. They will not invest money here on infrastructure, it's too expensive and the law of diminishing returns says there are better investments elsewhere.

All it does is sucks even more capital out of our economy and funds the foreign countries that have been making some of the steadiest investments in the world. Not many investments are safer then owning a toll road in America. Americans have no real choices other then using those toll roads in a lot of cases, and the money will just pour in.

And when you hit those giant potholes and need new tires, think about how for the money it would cost to maintain a few miles of American interstate, you could build hundreds of miles of toll roads in other countries.

By privatizing our governments functions, we are giving a big go-ahead to sucking every dollar out of our infrastructure you possibly can before it crumbles. If it's already been built / paid for, and all you are trying to do is make as much of a profit off your investment as possible, then spending the minimum possible for upkeep is a good way to increase profits even more.
2006-12-30 03:45:36 AM  

You waste your life in traffic and have to pay for the privelege!!1!!!!!1!!
2006-12-30 03:48:27 AM  
FU asmodeus
2006-12-30 04:21:42 AM  
MEOWSPIDER That works out to society collectively losing almost 14 hours of work time because one additional car choose to drive on this road.

I'm in favor of variable tolls, but this "collective wage" is bullshait. I've just lost 5 seconds and I'll gain that by not jerking off when in the elevator. My 8 hours of work will still be there wether or not I'm 15 seconds late.
2006-12-30 05:12:53 AM  
Isn't this exactly the kind of thing that RICO laws were put in place to prevent?
2006-12-30 05:21:17 AM  
Score 1 for Capitalism.
-1 for the common person.
2006-12-30 05:30:15 AM  
These toll roads werent "handed over" to foreign (ie:Australian) business, they were sold. Copious foreign dollars poured into American local/state governments at the time of sale and further savings are had downstream as the investors now maintain the roadway instead of local/state authority. Short and long term benefits to the gov. and hopefully, if you've elected the right people, you.

Oh and lelio.. 5 seconds mate, in an elevator no less... impressive.
2006-12-30 05:41:37 AM  
This is great. I don't even have to exert myself crafting a theoretical argument as to why it is good; it has already been done elsewhere and it worked.


Abstract: Since February 2003 the city of London has charged a fee for driving private automobiles in its central area during weekdays as a way to reduce traffic congestion and raise revenues to fund transport improvments. This has significantly reduced traffic congestion, improved bus and taxi service, and generates substantial revenues.
2006-12-30 05:46:15 AM  

Or you could just take the bus and/or train. Of course, that involves getting out of your car, and we can't have that, can we?
2006-12-30 06:11:23 AM  
This is great. I don't even have to exert myself crafting a theoretical argument as to why it is good; it has already been done elsewhere and it worked.

I was about to post nearly those very words, but I was going to reference the similar system in Stockholm. When the congestion tax was implemented, traffic congestion went down, use of public transportation went up, air quality improved, and quality of life in general went up. The system was so successful that the residents of Stockholm voted to make it permanent after the trial period ended.
2006-12-30 06:12:18 AM  
Time to go buy an SUV,so when I'm stuck in traffic I can give a knowing look to the girl next to me,and take that baby off-roading up a mountain side.

I live in Boston,so I have very little access to mountains,and I can't think of any business I'd have up there,but I'll save a few bucks,and probably get roadhead.
2006-12-30 06:22:11 AM  
That's why I stay on the feeders. Toll roads get more crowded than the regular highways during rush hour (which is from about 6am - 10am and 4pm - 7pm here in Houston. Basically most of the day). It's like a highway with a stop sign.
2006-12-30 06:49:40 AM  
Maybe you need to study the failure of NJ's rise and fall of superior road development as an example of what is to come.

NJ was known for having the best maintained roads, highways and bridges in the nation. Then it began subsidizing and the wonderful "privatization" of it's DOT.

The toll funds no longer are isolated to supporting the roads infrastructure but instead are lumped into a slush fund that the other departments syphon from. Economics (and failure to watch what goes where), inflation, misuse and mismanagemnt (mis-manglement beginning with Florio...) have left nothing but a "borrower's be" structure. So, the state continues to spend and bases this on "predicted future taxpayer revenues".

The bean counters that formulated this are long gone, likely consulting for others and saying "Look what we came up with! isn't this a solution for you?" and no one is taking responsibility for the hidden failure of privatization (now called a new term which is the same as slow failure).

Local government HAD a good system until someone felt it should make a profit (but for whom???). Roads are a doomed process. Mass transit is far more important (and less supported) as no one (cares) and understands that you shouldn't make money moving people. You make money advertising and marketing to the people you move.

It's now going to be 2007 and the most powerful country in the world lacks national, modern, efficient, fast, cheap, public mass transit.

(I understand now that PA's turnpike is going private/corporate and this is going to be a HUGE failure in the longterm. State has spent trillions over several decades to build, engineer, enforce, design, code and standardize on a system that will now be half-assed into some greedy pockets, leaving the driver to empty their pocket for saving 5 minutes)

/I need a new country to discover and settle. Or better yet, a new planet.
//You hate people too?
2006-12-30 06:56:12 AM  
Second, pigheaded voters in Maryland and Virginia have been unwilling to raise gasoline or other taxes to pay for the highways they claim to want.

Better yet, let us look at the books to see what ridiculous programs that we, the pigheaded voters, are already paying for and see if we can re-allocate funds to highways.
2006-12-30 07:00:53 AM  
So, is submitter:

a) a retarded conservative (redundant, I know)


b) a troll?

shiat, I just saw the Saddam hanging video on t.v.
2006-12-30 08:20:20 AM  
The government has 2 methods available to it influence behavior, laws and taxes.

This is a tax. Adjusting it up is a lame attempt to prevent people from using the road.
2006-12-30 08:25:50 AM  
Dumbest idea ever-

Here comes the science- there is no incentive to REDUCE CONGESTION for the other lanes, since it runs counter to the business model. In fact, the system is more profitable as traffic worsens. This is NOT about reducing traffic or congestion at all.

You cannot compare this to European models, because it is very different. They started this type of variable toll system in the Twin Cities in an area virtually unserved by public transportation. In London it is easier to take public transportation than it is to drive.
2006-12-30 09:23:20 AM  
Chaimtime: They take the EZ Pass discount away during rush hour on the NJ turnpike
Man that's lame. I bet B-More's not far behind that then...

Larofeticus: This is great. I don't even have to exert myself crafting a theoretical argument as to why it is good; it has already been done elsewhere and it worked.

Phaid: I was about to post nearly those very words, but I was going to reference the similar system in Stockholm.

I think the difference is that, in general (I have no idea if this is true for the two examples cited above), European cities have a better infrastructure for car alternatives already in place.

I can't get from my home to my work with mass transportation - there is no route that gets me there.
2006-12-30 09:30:28 AM  
This is one of the most expensive toll roads on the planet...

Read the bit about "Plate Denial - The process". NASTY.

And it's run by a bunch of FURRINERS, too!
2006-12-30 09:36:07 AM  
That doesn't even make sense.
2006-12-30 09:49:35 AM  
A spanish company is building all the toll roads in central Texas; the profits aren't going to be kept in the United States economy either.
2006-12-30 10:24:35 AM  
They're really going way too far here in Austin with the toll projects. Has nightmare written all over it.
2006-12-30 10:43:08 AM  
You know, I wouldn't mind using the turnpike so much if they actually used the money they got from it to FIX THE ROAD, instead of funneling it off to whatever pork project they're shoving this week.
2006-12-30 10:45:19 AM  
Troggie42: why not make NO tolls!!! that would relieve congestion.

Take a drive on the highways in Michigan. No toll booths on any Michigan road. The morning "rush hour" (6am-9am) and evening "rush hour" (5pm-7pm) are both packed and typically moving 5-10 under the speed limit in most sections.

In Maine, where there is the option of I-95 (60c Toll) or Route 1 (No Toll, but Traffic Lights and slower) for a large section of the south east coastline, neither are terribly congested at any time. Highway typically goes 5-15 over the speed limit, Route 1 typically is 0-5 over.
2006-12-30 10:50:44 AM  
Seems like a good idea, although I don't think a private company should benefit from the increased tolls. Lots of thoughtful responses, and I hope it works out. One point I should mention is that roads are never built to handle congestion or even 'increased congestion', roads are built to move people from one area to another easily, and tend to be the cause of said congestion.

Increasing tolls during increased congestion times sounds like a good idea and from other examples I have seen I believe it could work. The increased tolls will, hopefully, cause the driver(I'd say commuter but I wonder how many of them are really commuters) to think about their respective driving habits and change accordingly. I avoid driving anywhere if possible during rush hour, and severely limit my driving at other times too. If there was a viable mass-transit plan here I would use it almost exclusively, but as it is now it sucks.
2006-12-30 11:03:59 AM  
"The fact of the matter is, Northern Virginia IS the Virginia economy."

Horseshiat! Pure simple horseshiat! The economy in NoVa is government - federal, municipal plus developers! Couldn't get out there fast enough.
2006-12-30 11:51:00 AM  
The fun thing is that when you enter the toll lanes on the 91 from the 55 north in the OC you have a sign that tells you how much your easy pass is going to be charged, sometimes as much as ~$5, and you can't see the 91 and there is no other opportunity to enter the 91 later. The 91 crawls at its worst so it is an irrestible temptation to advertise a high fee even when the freeway is running normally to scare drivers into taking the toll lanes. I have seen this happen too many times for it to be a malfunction.
2006-12-30 12:03:14 PM  
"2006-12-30 02:02:39 AM Darth_Lukecash"

Come on down to Texas, where roads that have been paid off for 30 years are now becoming toll roads.

/ arghhhhhhhhhhhh
2006-12-30 12:11:49 PM  
Eh, the economist in me likes this, as it eliminates dead weight loss and forces people to actually decide how much their time is worth. The traveler in me hates this, as I expect to see similar fees for peak-hour driving within NYC in the next few years. Most of me doesn't care though, since I take mass transit more than 90% of the time anyways.
2006-12-30 12:17:39 PM  
I love tollways. Here in Illinois they were created to pay for the construction. After that was paid off, they started making more tollways in order to keep their jobs.

I have a buddy who refuses to use them, even if it adds considerable travel time. Good for him (although we laugh at him).

When in college some friends from downstate Illinois came to visit me. They told me that they pretty much freaked out when they came to their first toll booth. They never thought of the concept of paying for driving on a road.
2006-12-30 12:26:47 PM  
This sounds really good, unless you're some little clerk who has no choice but to be at your desk at 9am. But then, there's not much office work in DC, so that's not a big problem.
2006-12-30 01:36:48 PM  
It dosent work when the government sells off a toll road. They take the money and throw it into pork projects. The money they get should be rolled over to create mass transit as an alternative to the toll road. Drag people into the europeian model of travel.
2006-12-30 01:48:28 PM  
quiefNpea NJ was known for having the best maintained roads, highways and bridges in the nation.

What year was that?
2006-12-30 01:48:48 PM  
Here in Illinois

I like the way farking Illinois put a farking tollbooth every twenty farking feet on I-90. W-T-F. Apparently the idea is to charge more for people who drive farther, but there are better ways to do that.

Those Illinois dumbasses need to take a look at states like Ohio. They do the same sort of thing, but with only two tollbooths. The first tollbooth you pass gives you a ticket and then there are no more tollbooths until you exit (or leave the state) -- at which point a second booth takes your ticket and tallies up your fee.
2006-12-30 01:54:00 PM  
gradatim Those Illinois dumbasses need to take a look at states like Ohio. They do the same sort of thing, but with only two tollbooths.

You don't make union boss or get kickbacks from your employees unless you make up hundreds of featherbedding jobs.

I worked at a college and one of the employees in the admissions office was there because his toll booth was closed down and the state needed to put him somewhere. Guy was a complete moran.
2006-12-30 01:56:22 PM  
Read the article, morans:

In exchange for building additional lanes, contractors will be allowed to collect tolls that will vary by the minute. When traffic is heavy, the price will rise to whatever level is needed to keep the express lanes flowing. When demand is low -- presumably at times when traffic is flowing smoothly in the normal lanes -- the price will fall to near zero. Under most scenarios, buses and carpool vehicles will travel free.

In other words, the increased tolls are paying for more capacity (not to mention reducing demand at peak times). The alternative would be to extract the money in taxes from everybody, not just the people using the road. Or just let congestion happen, effectively taxing people's time instead of money.
2006-12-30 01:56:36 PM  
vertigo32: America is screwed when we begin turning our national infrastructure that was paid for with tax dollars over to private corporations. They will not invest money here on infrastructure, it's too expensive and the law of diminishing returns says there are better investments elsewhere.

Not necessarily true. There's an area on the way to my parents in East Texas that has roads maintained by the state, and maintained privately (neither are toll). You can tell when you hit the border between the two, because the ride gets smoother on the private side.
2006-12-30 02:32:09 PM  
"i know, i have seen, and been in, the congestion caused by tollbooths on the very roads that this article mentions."

While slow people in the left lane isn't a big pet peeve for me - I just drive around 'em - toll-booth idiots get me red-in-the-face screaming, sometimes. If there's congestion in the cash lanes, WHY do morons wait until they drive all the way up to the booth to stop, look for the purse, and rummage through the damned thing to find a few coins? They just had three minutes to do this while waiting in line....

"When it comes to toll roads, I just avoid the damn things."

So do I, though I'm kinda glad that they're there. An underpaid employee can -- theoretically speaking, now -- include the tolls on his expense report, while not paying them, and pocket a little cash now and then. It still doesn't begin to make up for the fact that his boss is paying him $12,000/year less than he's worth on the open market, but ...

/'scuse me while I go update my resume
2006-12-30 02:37:17 PM  
dyz2913: The economy in NoVa is government - federal, municipal plus developers!

What on earth are you talking about? Government provides a large portion of the jobs, though by no means all of them, but that paycheck goes right back into the local Virginia economy and pays the Virginia taxes. In the mean time there is a huge selection of non-government related jobs.

Fairfax County, where I live, is a part of Northern Virginia, though we certainly aren't all of it. Our county alone pays over a quarter of the entire state's tax revenues. We get back $0.21 for every dollar we send down to Richmond. Go ahead, tell me how that makes sense and is fair.

Face it, without the Northern Virginia economy the commonwealth would fall apart. Obviously it requires a huge portion of our money. All we're asking is that it gives us a bit more of it back.

By the way, I don't know where this idiot got the idea that we're unwilling to raise taxes to fix our roads. This is from the Washington Post itself, just this past October: "A large majority of Northern Virginia residents want the state to spend more money to fix the region's roads and rails, and more than three-quarters say they wanted the opportunity to raise local taxes to do it, a new Washington Post poll shows." (Source) Yeah, we're obviously being totally unreasonable here.
2006-12-30 02:43:50 PM  
This is not an example of introducing free-market capitalism to a toll-road.

It would be if you had a special lane which charged a variable (and higher) toll for usage.

That way, if someone REALLY needs to get somewhere and traffic is jammed, they can pay $5, $10, whatever to make it happen.

But there is also the *choice* to just go along the free or non-variable and cheap road.
2006-12-30 04:32:46 PM  

This is not an example of introducing free-market capitalism to a toll-road.

Yes it is. It's not an example of supply and demand working as theory says it should, but it sure as hell is an example of owners doing what they can to realize an increase in profit. It's evil-genius at its best: people who have to use the tollway at that time will continue to pay whatever they have to, and people who can't afford it will still pay the current rates use it at a different time, and the company will sit back and claim it's all for a good reason.
2006-12-30 06:07:41 PM  
Capitalism makes prices go up? Crap. Capitalism sucks, apparently.
2006-12-30 06:14:49 PM  
Will N. Dowd: Higher tolls during peak times will get some drivers off the highways, making it better for everyone who's willing to pay. Truckers will be more likely to drive at night; commuters will be more likely to carpool or take mass transit.

Sounds great in theory. Does not work in practice. A joint study done by CSU Hayward and CAL Berkeley said that carpool lanes in the Bay Area do not decrease traffic and cause more accidents. Most carpools here only require two riders. How is that relevant to what you said? Well, the bridges around here give free toll to carpools during peak commute times. So it is cheaper for people to carpool for three reasons: free toll, less spent on gas per individual and less wear and tear on individual cars, assuming drive time is split between 2 or more cars. With these benefits, traffic has managed to get worse and people still are not carpooling or taking mass transit like they should. All this toll road stuff does is punish those who are poor and/or cannot carpool and/or cannot drive at different hours. Now, I do realize you said more likely, but really, it does not appear that way at all.
2006-12-30 08:04:47 PM  
Things like this make me glad that I ride my bike to work. No tolls, no fuel price hikes (unless someone jacks up the price of peanut butter and bread,) and no sitting in hour-long traffic jams.

I only drive places when I absolutely have to, and the little time I spend in my car is bad enough around here. Seattle traffic is horrible (not as bad as some places, though.)
2006-12-30 08:10:38 PM  
As a former DC beltway commuter, I would have been more then willing to spend some tax payer money to take care of that SNAFU that is I495 between I270 and the I270 spur. That is a freaking nightmare with the twisting, and going to two lanes east bound.

And Metro already charges more for trains during rush hour.

I am glad I moved to Maine and have a 5 minute walk to work.
2006-12-30 08:15:18 PM  
I am a superb driver... better than most.
2006-12-30 09:13:52 PM  
The only good answer is that most of us work at home, or very near to home.

2006! Let's make that shiat happen! It would make everyone's life 10% happier!
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