Tuesday, June 1, 2010

SH 130 in the red--taxpayers making up the difference

The Statesman’s Ben Wear reports that the Texas Transportation Commission may be considering lowering tolls for trucks on SH 130 in order to lure more trucks from I-35. The article has an interesting discussion on what level of tolling would result in more trucks taking 130 at what result to overall toll revenues.


Wear notes that financially 130 is in the red. He reports, “The 2002 financial prospectus for investors who put $2.2 billion into Texas 130, Loop 1 and Texas 45 North showed initial toll rates unchanged until 2015, when a 50 percent increase was scheduled. Transportation commissioners have the power to raise rates before then, but they aren't talking publicly about doing so. But they might be considering it privately. According to figures from TxDOT Chief Financial Officer James Bass, the three-road system has required $68 million in tax money to balance the books over the first three years.”

So why is it a good idea to continue to build toll roads where taxpayers will be paying the investors? By the way, ground has been broken on the tolled interchange at 290 East and 183—a tolled interchange being paid for by taxpayer stimulus money.

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