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Author Topic: What Will Become of Orange County's Toll Roads  (Read 3364 times)

kernals12

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What Will Become of Orange County's Toll Roads
« on: January 27, 2021, 09:58:44 AM »

In 1995, voters in Orange County approved a plan to build 67 miles of freeway. But because they didn't want to pay for it with higher taxes, they decided to use tolls, previously unthinkable in California, to pay off the bonds that would finance their construction. They were told that by 2035, the bonds would be paid off and the tolls removed.

Things haven't worked out that well. Even with SoCal's infamous traffic problems, people just weren't willing to pay the tolls to use them, so revenue came in less than expected. The date when the bonds are to be paid off has been pushed back, now out to 2057. Their debt is rising despite no extra lanes being built. And now that Caltrans is building HOT lanes on the 5 and 405, these toll roads are becoming more and more pointless.

So what are they going to do?


« Last Edit: January 27, 2021, 10:10:12 AM by kernals12 »
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kernals12

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Re: What Will Become of Orange County's Toll Roads
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2021, 10:17:51 AM »

The simplest thing would be to impose a sales tax to retire the bonds. Almost all of the operating costs of the toll roads are for toll collection, so once the bonds are paid off, making the roads free to use would not be very expensive.
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Re: What Will Become of Orange County's Toll Roads
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2021, 11:41:10 AM »

I could see OCTA try to use making the toll roads free as a sweetener to a sales tax increase, although whether the voters will support it is another story. The last sales tax increase threw money at cities for pretty useless shuttles that made residents feel good about transit without much usage. The other thing is whether the state will try to shut down a toll elimination on air quality conformity concerns, or because it would increase VMT (as it is sure to do).
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kernals12

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Re: What Will Become of Orange County's Toll Roads
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2021, 12:05:57 PM »

I could see OCTA try to use making the toll roads free as a sweetener to a sales tax increase, although whether the voters will support it is another story. The last sales tax increase threw money at cities for pretty useless shuttles that made residents feel good about transit without much usage. The other thing is whether the state will try to shut down a toll elimination on air quality conformity concerns, or because it would increase VMT (as it is sure to do).

Has Sacramento gone that far into the looney bin?
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Re: What Will Become of Orange County's Toll Roads
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2021, 01:15:38 PM »

The requirement by state law is to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40% from 1990 levels by 2030 and 80% by 2050. Because of this, anything that would generate huge VMT and couldn't be justified based on safety or operations would likely be shut down by a governor who claims to take climate change seriously. The tolling of the TCA roads clearly is not a safety or operations issue.
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Re: What Will Become of Orange County's Toll Roads
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2021, 01:19:14 PM »

The requirement by state law is to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40% from 1990 levels by 2030 and 80% by 2050. Because of this, anything that would generate huge VMT and couldn't be justified based on safety or operations would likely be shut down by a governor who claims to take climate change seriously. The tolling of the TCA roads clearly is not a safety or operations issue.

If VMT increases, but stop-and-go traffic also decreases (much less idling), it's possible that greenhouse gas emissions are reduced. It depends on how much the increases and decreases are.
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Re: What Will Become of Orange County's Toll Roads
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2021, 01:19:42 PM »

The requirement by state law is to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40% from 1990 levels by 2030 and 80% by 2050. Because of this, anything that would generate huge VMT and couldn't be justified based on safety or operations would likely be shut down by a governor who claims to take climate change seriously. The tolling of the TCA roads clearly is not a safety or operations issue.

California is banning the sale of internal combustion engine powered cars though. So it wouldn't increase CO2 emissions
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Re: What Will Become of Orange County's Toll Roads
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2021, 01:22:06 PM »

The requirement by state law is to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40% from 1990 levels by 2030 and 80% by 2050. Because of this, anything that would generate huge VMT and couldn't be justified based on safety or operations would likely be shut down by a governor who claims to take climate change seriously. The tolling of the TCA roads clearly is not a safety or operations issue.

California is banning the sale of internal combustion engine powered cars though. So it wouldn't increase CO2 emissions

1. Existing cars are still gasoline and will be using these roads.
2. Electric cars use electricity. It's not free energy.

EDIT:

3. By 2035. There are still 14 years remaining.
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Re: What Will Become of Orange County's Toll Roads
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2021, 01:33:13 PM »

The requirement by state law is to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40% from 1990 levels by 2030 and 80% by 2050. Because of this, anything that would generate huge VMT and couldn't be justified based on safety or operations would likely be shut down by a governor who claims to take climate change seriously. The tolling of the TCA roads clearly is not a safety or operations issue.

California is banning the sale of internal combustion engine powered cars though. So it wouldn't increase CO2 emissions

1. Existing cars are still gasoline and will be using these roads.
2. Electric cars use electricity. It's not free energy.

EDIT:

3. By 2035. There are still 14 years remaining.

By 2035, it'll be coming almost entirely from solar and wind power.
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Re: What Will Become of Orange County's Toll Roads
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2021, 04:39:04 PM »

Has CARB actually taken up the whole 2035 edict by Newsom?  There are some serious doubts regarding whether the infrastructure (especially the failing state wide electrical grid) will be there to support an entirely electric passenger car market.  If I recall correctly commercial vehicles were not part of the 2035 directive?
« Last Edit: January 27, 2021, 04:41:34 PM by Max Rockatansky »
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kernals12

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Re: What Will Become of Orange County's Toll Roads
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2021, 05:16:50 PM »

Has CARB actually taken up the whole 2035 edict by Newsom?  There are some serious doubts regarding whether the infrastructure (especially the failing state wide electrical grid) will be there to support an entirely electric passenger car market.  If I recall correctly commercial vehicles were not part of the 2035 directive?

We built enough power stations and transmission lines to handle electricity demand that was doubling every decade from 1930 until 1970. There will not be a problem meeting the demand from electric cars.
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Re: What Will Become of Orange County's Toll Roads
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2021, 05:24:38 PM »

What we really need is to have really tall metal poles (retrofit the Empire State Building and others, or build new ones) that can be hit by lightning and then store lightning electricity until it gets used up.
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Re: What Will Become of Orange County's Toll Roads
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2021, 05:29:07 PM »

Has CARB actually taken up the whole 2035 edict by Newsom?  There are some serious doubts regarding whether the infrastructure (especially the failing state wide electrical grid) will be there to support an entirely electric passenger car market.  If I recall correctly commercial vehicles were not part of the 2035 directive?

We built enough power stations and transmission lines to handle electricity demand that was doubling every decade from 1930 until 1970. There will not be a problem meeting the demand from electric cars.

Then why are we having rolling blackouts every time the temperature hits 100F in the inland regions of the state?   Amusingly the City of Los Angeles is probably the best set to handle itís own power needs.  PG&E has some seriously aged infrastructure and SoCal Edison isnít exactly in the best of shape either.  This last summer in particular was really bad for anyone who has their electricity provided by a non-public utility company.  Whatís happening now doesnít instill confidence in all electric passenger cars. 

Seriously though, I rarely ever hear news of any sort of new generating station potentially being built in California.  Almost all the talk in California isnít about expanding grid capacity but rather focusing on making the grid less prone to causing wildfires. 

Regarding EVs and their very nature being a problem for the gas tax a lot of the talk has been of late regarding a mileage tax.  I seem to recall the legislature was authorized last year to explore the feasibility of implementing a mileage tax?
« Last Edit: January 27, 2021, 05:38:34 PM by Max Rockatansky »
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Re: What Will Become of Orange County's Toll Roads
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2021, 05:56:53 PM »

What we really need is to have really tall metal poles (retrofit the Empire State Building and others, or build new ones) that can be hit by lightning and then store lightning electricity until it gets used up.

When you can make a collection system robust enough to survive the lightning strike (and everyone who has tried has failed miserably), maybe we could think about discussing this. It is an engineering hurdle and not a physics hurdle, but it is a LARGE one.

Imagine having that for your home say 50 years from now? House takes a lightning strike right to the pole and its like winning the electric bill lottery, provided you have a battery bank the size of the house to store it all.
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Re: What Will Become of Orange County's Toll Roads
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2021, 06:23:13 PM »

Has CARB actually taken up the whole 2035 edict by Newsom?  There are some serious doubts regarding whether the infrastructure (especially the failing state wide electrical grid) will be there to support an entirely electric passenger car market.  If I recall correctly commercial vehicles were not part of the 2035 directive?

We built enough power stations and transmission lines to handle electricity demand that was doubling every decade from 1930 until 1970. There will not be a problem meeting the demand from electric cars.

No problem at all.  Just build more coal powerplants like they did in the last century.  Add in some nuclear too.
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Re: What Will Become of Orange County's Toll Roads
« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2021, 06:27:00 PM »

Has CARB actually taken up the whole 2035 edict by Newsom?  There are some serious doubts regarding whether the infrastructure (especially the failing state wide electrical grid) will be there to support an entirely electric passenger car market.  If I recall correctly commercial vehicles were not part of the 2035 directive?

We built enough power stations and transmission lines to handle electricity demand that was doubling every decade from 1930 until 1970. There will not be a problem meeting the demand from electric cars.

No problem at all.  Just build more coal powerplants like they did in the last century.  Add in some nuclear too.


Not even those "Powder River let 'er buck" types in Wyoming believe this.
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Re: What Will Become of Orange County's Toll Roads
« Reply #16 on: January 27, 2021, 06:31:21 PM »

Has CARB actually taken up the whole 2035 edict by Newsom?  There are some serious doubts regarding whether the infrastructure (especially the failing state wide electrical grid) will be there to support an entirely electric passenger car market.  If I recall correctly commercial vehicles were not part of the 2035 directive?

We built enough power stations and transmission lines to handle electricity demand that was doubling every decade from 1930 until 1970. There will not be a problem meeting the demand from electric cars.

No problem at all.  Just build more coal powerplants like they did in the last century.  Add in some nuclear too.


Not even those "Powder River let 'er buck" types in Wyoming believe this.

Itís not that they ďcouldnítĒ be built itís just that a certain Environmental Quality Act would essentially make that impossible.  Pretty much everything aside solar and hydroelectric has largely been a no-go in recent decades in California.  Even hydroelectric is getting a lot backlash by the dam removal crowd. 
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kernals12

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Re: What Will Become of Orange County's Toll Roads
« Reply #17 on: January 27, 2021, 06:52:38 PM »

Has CARB actually taken up the whole 2035 edict by Newsom?  There are some serious doubts regarding whether the infrastructure (especially the failing state wide electrical grid) will be there to support an entirely electric passenger car market.  If I recall correctly commercial vehicles were not part of the 2035 directive?

We built enough power stations and transmission lines to handle electricity demand that was doubling every decade from 1930 until 1970. There will not be a problem meeting the demand from electric cars.

No problem at all.  Just build more coal powerplants like they did in the last century.  Add in some nuclear too.


Not even those "Powder River let 'er buck" types in Wyoming believe this.

Itís not that they ďcouldnítĒ be built itís just that a certain Environmental Quality Act would essentially make that impossible.  Pretty much everything aside solar and hydroelectric has largely been a no-go in recent decades in California.  Even hydroelectric is getting a lot backlash by the dam removal crowd.

And that's a problem how?
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: What Will Become of Orange County's Toll Roads
« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2021, 07:15:01 PM »

Has CARB actually taken up the whole 2035 edict by Newsom?  There are some serious doubts regarding whether the infrastructure (especially the failing state wide electrical grid) will be there to support an entirely electric passenger car market.  If I recall correctly commercial vehicles were not part of the 2035 directive?

We built enough power stations and transmission lines to handle electricity demand that was doubling every decade from 1930 until 1970. There will not be a problem meeting the demand from electric cars.

No problem at all.  Just build more coal powerplants like they did in the last century.  Add in some nuclear too.


Not even those "Powder River let 'er buck" types in Wyoming believe this.

Itís not that they ďcouldnítĒ be built itís just that a certain Environmental Quality Act would essentially make that impossible.  Pretty much everything aside solar and hydroelectric has largely been a no-go in recent decades in California.  Even hydroelectric is getting a lot backlash by the dam removal crowd.

And that's a problem how?

There isnít a ton of watersheds south of the Feather River  that donít already have power generating stations on them.  The stuff that has been proposed like Temperance Flat essentially is just an expansion and more oriented towards water shortage.  Some of the larger hydroelectric projects like Big Creek really donít have much room for expansion and would face massive environmentalism resistance. 

North of the Feather River there has been a lot of watersheds that have been declared wild and scenic.  Some rivers like the Klamath even have some serious environmental push behind them to remove dams and restore the natural downstream flow. 

With solar, I just donít see there being huge swathes of land being used up to build generating stations that will have a large enough impact.  Most of the stations that have been recently arenít very large and are extremely remote areas. 
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Re: What Will Become of Orange County's Toll Roads
« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2021, 07:17:37 PM »

With solar, I just donít see there being huge swathes of land being used up to build generating stations that will have a large enough impact.  Most of the stations that have been recently arenít very large and are extremely remote areas.

The Inland Empire and Phoenix areas are dense areas surrounded by empty space (mountains in the case of the Inland Empire). Why can't they be put there?

(I saw a set of solar panels in Newport Beach that was sloped to match the slope of the hill; the presence of mountains shouldn't prevent the installation of solar panels.)
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Re: What Will Become of Orange County's Toll Roads
« Reply #20 on: January 27, 2021, 07:27:46 PM »

With solar, I just donít see there being huge swathes of land being used up to build generating stations that will have a large enough impact.  Most of the stations that have been recently arenít very large and are extremely remote areas.

The Inland Empire and Phoenix areas are dense areas surrounded by empty space (mountains in the case of the Inland Empire). Why can't they be put there?

(I saw a set of solar panels in Newport Beach that was sloped to match the slope of the hill; the presence of mountains shouldn't prevent the installation of solar panels.)

To be clear I donít see Arizona having this same issue that California does.  There certainly is it the same level of environmental red tape in Arizona.  It would be smart to put something large in the Inland Empire, I just question if there is enough of a drive to do so.  If Newsom had made an announcement for 2045-50 I would have seen that as a far more realistic target.
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Re: What Will Become of Orange County's Toll Roads
« Reply #21 on: January 27, 2021, 07:40:20 PM »

Back to the original question, since the toll roads aren't a safety hazard (I-95 in CT), I imagine that the tolls will remain as long the cost of collecting them is less than the revenue, which should always be the case.

kernals12

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Re: What Will Become of Orange County's Toll Roads
« Reply #22 on: January 27, 2021, 08:23:36 PM »

Has CARB actually taken up the whole 2035 edict by Newsom?  There are some serious doubts regarding whether the infrastructure (especially the failing state wide electrical grid) will be there to support an entirely electric passenger car market.  If I recall correctly commercial vehicles were not part of the 2035 directive?

We built enough power stations and transmission lines to handle electricity demand that was doubling every decade from 1930 until 1970. There will not be a problem meeting the demand from electric cars.

No problem at all.  Just build more coal powerplants like they did in the last century.  Add in some nuclear too.


Not even those "Powder River let 'er buck" types in Wyoming believe this.

Itís not that they ďcouldnítĒ be built itís just that a certain Environmental Quality Act would essentially make that impossible.  Pretty much everything aside solar and hydroelectric has largely been a no-go in recent decades in California.  Even hydroelectric is getting a lot backlash by the dam removal crowd.

And that's a problem how?

There isnít a ton of watersheds south of the Feather River  that donít already have power generating stations on them.  The stuff that has been proposed like Temperance Flat essentially is just an expansion and more oriented towards water shortage.  Some of the larger hydroelectric projects like Big Creek really donít have much room for expansion and would face massive environmentalism resistance. 

North of the Feather River there has been a lot of watersheds that have been declared wild and scenic.  Some rivers like the Klamath even have some serious environmental push behind them to remove dams and restore the natural downstream flow. 

With solar, I just donít see there being huge swathes of land being used up to build generating stations that will have a large enough impact.  Most of the stations that have been recently arenít very large and are extremely remote areas.


The amount of energy that hits the earth in an hour is enough to meet our energy needs for a year. The Mojave Desert is massive and pretty empty.

EDIT: Someone estimated how much land would be needed to switch California to 100% renewable energy. It's not much. Also, our current solar panels are only 20%. In the future, hot carrier cells will be able to hit 66%
« Last Edit: January 27, 2021, 08:29:37 PM by kernals12 »
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kernals12

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Re: What Will Become of Orange County's Toll Roads
« Reply #23 on: January 27, 2021, 08:30:51 PM »

Back to the original question, since the toll roads aren't a safety hazard (I-95 in CT), I imagine that the tolls will remain as long the cost of collecting them is less than the revenue, which should always be the case.

But they need to pay those bondholders somehow.
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Re: What Will Become of Orange County's Toll Roads
« Reply #24 on: January 27, 2021, 08:31:16 PM »

Has CARB actually taken up the whole 2035 edict by Newsom?  There are some serious doubts regarding whether the infrastructure (especially the failing state wide electrical grid) will be there to support an entirely electric passenger car market.  If I recall correctly commercial vehicles were not part of the 2035 directive?

We built enough power stations and transmission lines to handle electricity demand that was doubling every decade from 1930 until 1970. There will not be a problem meeting the demand from electric cars.

No problem at all.  Just build more coal powerplants like they did in the last century.  Add in some nuclear too.


Not even those "Powder River let 'er buck" types in Wyoming believe this.

Itís not that they ďcouldnítĒ be built itís just that a certain Environmental Quality Act would essentially make that impossible.  Pretty much everything aside solar and hydroelectric has largely been a no-go in recent decades in California.  Even hydroelectric is getting a lot backlash by the dam removal crowd.

And that's a problem how?

There isnít a ton of watersheds south of the Feather River  that donít already have power generating stations on them.  The stuff that has been proposed like Temperance Flat essentially is just an expansion and more oriented towards water shortage.  Some of the larger hydroelectric projects like Big Creek really donít have much room for expansion and would face massive environmentalism resistance. 

North of the Feather River there has been a lot of watersheds that have been declared wild and scenic.  Some rivers like the Klamath even have some serious environmental push behind them to remove dams and restore the natural downstream flow. 

With solar, I just donít see there being huge swathes of land being used up to build generating stations that will have a large enough impact.  Most of the stations that have been recently arenít very large and are extremely remote areas.


The amount of energy that hits the earth in an hour is enough to meet our energy needs for a year. The Mojave Desert is massive and pretty empty.

EDIT: Someone estimated how much land would be needed to switch California to 100% renewable energy. It's not much. Also, our current solar panels are only 20%. In the future, hot carrier cells will be able to hit 66%

A lot of the western Mojave near Lancaster and Palmdale would be ideal for that kind of thing and have the least amounts of environmental red tape.  Antelope Valley in particular already has some substantial wind farms much like Tehachapi Pass.
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