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Author Topic: Elimination of cash tolls on Houston toll roads  (Read 21361 times)

US 41

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Re: Elimination of cash tolls on Houston toll roads
« Reply #50 on: January 16, 2016, 09:41:55 PM »

"No Cash" just means "No Cash". Dallas area has "No Cash" but you can just get a bill in the mail. You didn't 'violate' anything. You just chose the Pay-By-Mail option which costs a few cents more per transaction.

And to say that Houston requires $30 per transaction to find out who you are while DFW charges about $0.10-$0.30 is a big markup.

It's clear Houston area toll agencies have decided fining non-transponder users into oblivion is a better economic decision than to have more drivers simply paying a slightly elevated toll for Pay-By-Mail.

I mean, $22 million in toll transactions equals a 'potential' 10x+ return on the original charges.

Tolls should not be making a profit for anyone. Tolls should be used strictly for maintaining / improving the roadway. Pay by mail should be an option on every electronic toll road. Ripping people off with $30 fees should not be an option and should be made illegal by the state or federal government.
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Anthony_JK

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Re: Elimination of cash tolls on Houston toll roads
« Reply #51 on: January 17, 2016, 11:15:13 AM »

"No Cash" just means "No Cash". Dallas area has "No Cash" but you can just get a bill in the mail. You didn't 'violate' anything. You just chose the Pay-By-Mail option which costs a few cents more per transaction.

And to say that Houston requires $30 per transaction to find out who you are while DFW charges about $0.10-$0.30 is a big markup.

It's clear Houston area toll agencies have decided fining non-transponder users into oblivion is a better economic decision than to have more drivers simply paying a slightly elevated toll for Pay-By-Mail.

I mean, $22 million in toll transactions equals a 'potential' 10x+ return on the original charges.

Tolls should not be making a profit for anyone. Tolls should be used strictly for maintaining / improving the roadway. Pay by mail should be an option on every electronic toll road. Ripping people off with $30 fees should not be an option and should be made illegal by the state or federal government.

Ummm, really?? The very concept of privatization of highways through tolling is that "private" roads generating private profits would be more "efficient" and less costly than publically financed infrastructure. If there wasn't a profit in it, it wouldn't be privatized.

The problem is that there is simply too many ways for the toll providers to gouge the users. For one, they could set the toll rates so high that only high-rent persons use the roadway and all others are shunted to lesser public roadways (the "Lexus lanes" phenomenon). Or, they can use "non-compete" clauses preventing any public infrastructure improvements that would conflict with the monopoly of that private roadway.

"Pay by mail" does sound like a breeze to those used to paying other bills....except when the roadways they are being charged for were also built with majority public funds, and then converted to private just for the sake of the private contractors. At least with traditional coin-drop, you see how much you are paying and don't have to wait until a bill shows up.

If there is that much concern over "shunpiking" or locals not paying their fair share, then the best solution is a flexible motor user fee that can be broadly adjusted to raise revenue for local infrastructure. Let the Feds pay 100% for true Interstate projects, then reinburse the states through revenue sharing later on.

Like I said before, toll projects from local public entities who can be held accountable through public agencies for cost controls are less objectionable from my perspective; but I still think that public infrastructure should be publically financed through universal public fiscal measures. A highway that has been built with public funds should stay public and accessible to all, not be converted to a private facility catering to a few who can pay $100/month for instant gratification. And, if you can't have cash-drop facilities, transponders should be made available to locals at low-cost to allow access to the ERT facility. And, rates should be publically accessible.

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wxfree

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Re: Elimination of cash tolls on Houston toll roads
« Reply #52 on: January 17, 2016, 12:41:57 PM »

None of the Houston area toll roads is private.  They're all run either by TxDOT or by the county.  Given that, I agree that the tolls should be at the lowest level needed to pay for the road and administration, not to generate a profit so that politicians or bureaucrats have money to give to someone else.  People who have to pay more for a public road should pay as little more as possible.  For private roads, such as DFW-area managed lanes and southern SH 130, they obviously want to make a profit.  In these cases, maximum toll rates are set in the development agreement.

On the topic, I've always thought that toll roads should have cash payment available, even if it's just a coin drop.  Or we could call it on-site payment and accept cash or cards.  If cash or card payments cost the toll authority more, they should raise the price to cover the toll and cost of collection.  This higher price incentivizes regular users to get a tag.  Managed lanes are an exception.  It makes no sense to pay to go faster and stop to pay.  But managed lanes are right beside free lanes and go to the same places, so those without a tag where one is required can just stay off of them.

I really think all three forms should be available (except on managed lanes).  Those who don't want to get a bill, or don't want to pay rental company charges, can pay on the road.  Those who don't have a tag and don't mind the bill can avoid the cash lanes and keep going.  In each case, the price would reflect both the toll and the added cost of collection.  I would agree with removal of cash payment if there were a national tag, the road has the option for billing by mail, and if drivers can register to be billed directly instead of through rental companies or use some toll payment application to accomplish that, or use a tag that can be moved to different cars.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2016, 12:45:08 PM by wxfree »
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