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Author Topic: California  (Read 213342 times)

J N Winkler

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Re: California
« Reply #1375 on: September 25, 2021, 03:27:07 AM »

Why does California not have a statewide toll road like NYS, Indiana, New Jersey, Florida and others?

The California legislature commissioned a highway financing study in 1946 as part of the policy development that led to the Collier-Burns Act of 1947.  The study's authors looked at the interurban toll roads that were then being developed in the Eastern states and specifically rejected that method of funding new road capacity because most auto travel in California was within cities, meaning urban freeways were seen as the more pressing need.  Later on, in 1951, the Division of Highways (Caltrans' predecessor agency) studied a Los Angeles-San Francisco toll road, and judged it infeasible because US 99 and US 101 would have siphoned off too much traffic.

A better question is why so many eastern states have toll roads instead of paying for their freeways with gas taxes.  Most of the money the tolls collect goes to pay the toll takers, not to pay for road construction or maintenance.  Collecting gas taxes is very efficient.

The story varies from state to state, but common themes included a desire to avoid raising fuel taxes just to cater to interurban traffic and studies showing that turnpike corridors served very high percentages of out-of-state traffic.  (We see similar dynamics today in Florida relying on turnpikes to keep the gas tax lower than it would otherwise be, and Arizona and Wyoming trying to toll I-15 and I-80 respectively.)

As a general rule, economists consider turnpikes a second-best approach because tolls claw back a part of the consumer's surplus arising from the improvement.  A common theme in the highway finance literature of the late 1940's and the 1950's is amazement at motorists' willingness to pay what were then fantastic sums to use toll roads.

I can't speak for all toll agencies, but I would expect that most if not all of the traditional public-authority turnpikes publish annual reports that include financial statements.  I work to the rule of thumb that toll collection and related overheads are about 30% of tolls collected, but the actual numbers and the way they are reported vary from agency to agency.  For example, in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2018, the Kansas Turnpike Authority reported spending $7.8 million to collect $118 million in tolls, or 6.7%.  The question is what expenses are reported under other headings that would vanish if toll collection stopped overnight.

It's certainly true that collection expenses associated with fuel taxes are quite low--about 1%.
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"It is necessary to spend a hundred lire now to save a thousand lire later."--Piero Puricelli, explaining the need for a first-class road system to Benito Mussolini

kkt

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Re: California
« Reply #1376 on: September 26, 2021, 02:31:07 PM »

Why does California not have a statewide toll road like NYS, Indiana, New Jersey, Florida and others?

The California legislature commissioned a highway financing study in 1946 as part of the policy development that led to the Collier-Burns Act of 1947.  The study's authors looked at the interurban toll roads that were then being developed in the Eastern states and specifically rejected that method of funding new road capacity because most auto travel in California was within cities, meaning urban freeways were seen as the more pressing need.  Later on, in 1951, the Division of Highways (Caltrans' predecessor agency) studied a Los Angeles-San Francisco toll road, and judged it infeasible because US 99 and US 101 would have siphoned off too much traffic.

A better question is why so many eastern states have toll roads instead of paying for their freeways with gas taxes.  Most of the money the tolls collect goes to pay the toll takers, not to pay for road construction or maintenance.  Collecting gas taxes is very efficient.

The story varies from state to state, but common themes included a desire to avoid raising fuel taxes just to cater to interurban traffic and studies showing that turnpike corridors served very high percentages of out-of-state traffic.  (We see similar dynamics today in Florida relying on turnpikes to keep the gas tax lower than it would otherwise be, and Arizona and Wyoming trying to toll I-15 and I-80 respectively.)

As a general rule, economists consider turnpikes a second-best approach because tolls claw back a part of the consumer's surplus arising from the improvement.  A common theme in the highway finance literature of the late 1940's and the 1950's is amazement at motorists' willingness to pay what were then fantastic sums to use toll roads.

I can't speak for all toll agencies, but I would expect that most if not all of the traditional public-authority turnpikes publish annual reports that include financial statements.  I work to the rule of thumb that toll collection and related overheads are about 30% of tolls collected, but the actual numbers and the way they are reported vary from agency to agency.  For example, in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2018, the Kansas Turnpike Authority reported spending $7.8 million to collect $118 million in tolls, or 6.7%.  The question is what expenses are reported under other headings that would vanish if toll collection stopped overnight.

It's certainly true that collection expenses associated with fuel taxes are quite low--about 1%.

Thank you, I appreciate the explanation.
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gonealookin

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Re: California
« Reply #1377 on: September 30, 2021, 02:42:58 PM »

In an alleged DUI crash, a Toyota Tundra smacked the aging Mt. Murphy Bridge near Coloma and caused significant damage.

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Levi Nuesmeyer, 37, of Placerville was arrested early Saturday morning on suspicion of driving under the influence after the 2022 Toyota Tundra he was driving reportedly struck railing and a column on the bridge.
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County Department of Transportation Maintenance Division staff assessed the bridge and reported “severe structural damage caused by a reckless driver running into one of the main columns.” DOT officials say they expect the bridge to remain closed for “several months” until repairs are made.

We'll see if they repair it or just tear it down.  The bridge was due for replacement in the near future anyway.

Quote
The Mt. Murphy Bridge was built in 1915. “The main span is 160 feet long with two concrete approach structures of 140 feet and 60 feet long, which were rebuilt in 1931. The bridge approaches are narrow (10.5-feet) with no separation of vehicles from pedestrians,” states a DOT fact sheet, which also notes that due to the popularity of the state park about 38,000 pedestrians cross the bridge every year.

Despite upkeep efforts, the bridge has received a failing grade from Caltrans for more than a decade and DOT staff’s preference is an on-alignment alternative that requires demolition of the old structure and building a new, wider bridge in its place that will include a separated, 8-foot-wide sidewalk for pedestrians and a lookout over the river on the west side.

Mt. Murphy Bridge on Bridgehunter.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: California
« Reply #1378 on: September 30, 2021, 03:28:50 PM »

Geeze, good thing I already took pictures of that bridge. 
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Techknow

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Re: California
« Reply #1379 on: October 03, 2021, 05:45:12 PM »

Drove around some highways in the Bay Area yesterday! From San Francisco, I crossed north of the Golden Gate Bridge to drive in CA 1 between Mill Valley to Muir and Stinson Beach. This section of CA 1 has been opened for over two years but the last time I went to Bolinas it was closed for a long time so I never got to drive on it until now. There are some nice scenic views over valleys but nowhere to stop easily.

That day was a busy day for traffic though and even though it was clear skies it was also foggy in a lot of areas. At some point the other direction was blocked due to a car accident. I saw some CHP vehicles a few minutes later and I decided to take the Panoramic Highway to go back east to US 101 rather than get stuck on slow moving traffic. Going east was very nice because there was no traffic on my lane through Mt. Tam state park although there were some cars coming in the opposite direction so it's hard to say which highway takes less time to get from one side to another, it'd depend on the time of day.

Then I went to clinch CA 131 on Tiburon and drove through the Richmond Bridge on I-580 and went back home at SF. On I-580 I wanted to see if a certain guide sign was replaced because it was said that it would be replaced with external exit tabs. Sorry folks but I can say the graffiti-damaged sign has yet to be replaced with anything. I can say now that I been on all of I-580 though! Getting back home was just typical stop-and-go traffic on the Bay Bridge and I-80, but that was the only toll I had to pay!
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: California
« Reply #1380 on: October 03, 2021, 05:53:29 PM »

Panoramic Highway is almost always faster than CA 1 to Stinson Beach. 
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TheStranger

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Re: California
« Reply #1381 on: October 04, 2021, 06:12:47 PM »

Noticed a couple of days ago that the South Airport Boulevard exit off US 101 southbound now has the larger-sized (national MUTCD style) exit gore point sign, as opposed to the vertical or square California-style gore point signage.
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Chris Sampang

 


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