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NTTA may raise tolls 32%, and double them for non ETC account holders

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austrini:
DFW's tolling agency, the North Texas Tollway Authority has a huge budget shortfall and is looking to close it by raising tolls by as much as 32% for tolltag users, and doubling them for non-tolltag users. The article mentions a 'tea party' type revolt but I am of the opinion that most people here are too apathetic to care. I pay $4 round trip daily in tolls to go to work and I'm thinking some arterial exploration for free alternatives is in order! The 'doubling for non tolltag users' isnt mentioned in the story, but was in a story today on our NPR station, KERA.

http://www.wfaa.com/sharedcontent/dws/wfaa/latestnews/stories/wfaa090623_mo_ntta.1d17be6c.html
http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/kera/news.newsmain/article/1/0/1521970/North.Texas/Tollway.Price.Hike.Expected


NTTA may soon raise tolls

11:43 PM CDT on Tuesday, June 23, 2009

By DAVID SCHECHTER / WFAA_TV

 DALLAS - The price of tolls in North Texas may soon go through the roof.

The NTTA is considering a 32 percent increase to cover for a soft economy. While the NTTA board is not elected, they still have the power to reach deep into taxpayers' pockets.

At the Boston Tea Party, the taxman was tarred and feathered. More than 235 years later, is anyone mad enough to revolt again?

"We've got to be able to satisfy Wall Street that we have sufficient revenue to continue to support the debt that we have,”  said NTTA Board Chairman Paul Wageman.

David Stall, from a group called CorridorWatch, said without the power to vote, the public holds little sway on board members.

"Unless they can directly, in some fashion, remove people from the board for what perceive as bad decision making, they just don't have the stick,”  he said.

Texas Senator John Carona said when the Legislature created the NTTA, it wanted to insulate the board from the pressure of day-to-day politics. But, he said, the NTTA is also there to seek the public's input.

"If people don't show up and people don't participate then they can expect more of the same,”  Carona said.

But, even if taxpayers threw a Tea Party in the NTTA board room, would it make a difference? Stall said he doesn't think so. He also said don't expect the toll to go down when the economic crises passes.

“By and large, tolls are like any other taxes," he said. "When they go up there's always someone who’s willing to find something to do with the money, and transportation is a bottomless pit."

"If you had 200 people in this room saying don't raise the tolls, you'd still have to raise the tolls wouldn't you?”  Schechter asked.

"You have to realize, 200 people - though not an insignificant number - compared to the total ridership of the NTTA is fairly small," Wageman said when asked if the NTTA would still raise tolls if 200 people showed up in protest. "And though they're motivated to share their view point with us, it's something we take under consideration."

But, consideration may be as far as it goes since the debts must be paid.

mightyace:
^^ As usual, sticking it to visitors who may not have the time or inclination to buy the transponder.

[sarcasm]
Well, it's appropriate that the NTTA runs the President George "Read my lips, no new taxes!" Bush Turnpike!
[/sarcasm] :thumbdown:

J N Winkler:
I thought the NTTA facilities were both lightly used and unbelievably expensive when I last drove in Dallas--and that was in 2003.  They get huge brownie points in my book for being one of the very first turnpike agencies to go for E-plans, but I am increasingly of the opinion that the Texas legislature needs to wake up, smell the coffee, and raise the gas tax.

mightyace:

--- Quote from: J N Winkler on June 30, 2009, 02:58:27 PM ---They get huge brownie points in my book for being one of the very first turnpike agencies to go for E-plans,

--- End quote ---

Well, you should like this then,

Bush Turnpike in Dallas, E470 Denver go all-electronic this week

austrini:
I commute on the PGBT every morning and they have all of the cash lanes at the toll plazas blocked off with orange cones and stuff now. I have no idea what they're going to do with them now.

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