Let’s Accelerate 540, part 1 – why dedicated user fees make sense for our growing community
We might think of dedicated tolls like that old saw about democracy – they are the worst way of paying for a vital new roadway, except for every other way we can think of.
The reality is that there are roads that simply need to be built to serve growing areas. The sooner those new and improved connections are made the better – for drivers, transit riders, commerce, visitors, and more – and dedicated tolls can greatly help with that.
The key is the adjective “dedicated.” Dedicated tolls can accelerate the construction of a new freeway by providing a focused, user fee-based mechanism that complements other revenue sources to get projects moving and open to customers much, much faster.
When you can generate funds from tolls that are dedicated to the corridor and cannot be diverted to other uses – and those tolls sunset after the revenue bonds are paid off – you have the clear potential for a winning approach that serves a growing community.
When the road in question is a modern turnpike, without toll booths, using fully electronic tolling, perhaps even with the built-in future capability of offering variable tolls to provide off-peak discounts to help keep traffic moving – then you can have rapid, sustainable mobility benefits.
When the road is located in a state with a data-driven prioritization process, with state funding allocated by logical geographic tiers, that rewards regions with additional bonus funding for being willing to advance their mobility future via tolls – then you have the opportunity to truly maximize your mobility investment.
In fact, what you have is the Triangle Expressway, in North Carolina, the most advanced turnpike in America.
And, what we now have is an opportunity to extend those benefits for more members of our growing community – by accelerating the extension of the Triangle Expressway to I-40, and then to I-87 (US 64-264 bypass)
The funding, construction, and benefit acceleration framework that dedicated tolls can provide is in many ways the best of all worlds – a project that moves forward quickly, provides faster mobility and safety benefits, leverages other revenue sources and secures more funding for companion projects.
The regional business community is pleased to support the accelerated expansion of the 540/Triangle Expressway, including the opportunity to advance its construction and benefits, thanks to the leadership and focus of the NC Turnpike Authority and NCDOT.
Let’s accelerate 540.
Joe Milazzo II, PE, Executive Director, Regional Transportation Alliance
RTA is the voice of the regional business community on transportation
This blog originally posted by Joe Milazzo II on LinkedIn