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Author Topic: Tolls proposed for Cottonwood Canyons  (Read 12349 times)

US 89

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Tolls proposed for Cottonwood Canyons
« on: January 25, 2018, 12:58:15 AM »

Article from Fox 13: Toll roads proposed for Little and Big Cottonwood Canyons

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Faced with increasing congestion inside two of the state's most popular canyons, the president of the Utah State Senate is proposing turning Little and Big Cottonwood canyons into toll roads.

"The congestion we face in those canyons is extreme," said Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy.

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In an interview with FOX 13 on Tuesday, he specifically named the Cottonwood canyons as toll roads.

"Tolling is going be a big part of what we do to incentivize people to carpool and get on a bus to get up Little Cottonwood Canyon," he said.

Interestingly, they seem to be open to the idea of tolling other roads as well:
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Faced with a growing population and continual demands on Utah's roads, the Senate President acknowledged more roads across the state could be tolled.

"Tolling is actually going to be a bigger part of what we deal with our roads. We’re going to double in population over the next 30 years, and we’re going to need to have these kind of tools in our tool belt," he said.

Niederhauser’s bill, S.B.71, passed the committee unanimously, and now goes to the full state senate, according to this more recent article.

Rothman

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Re: Tolls proposed for Cottonwood Canyons
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2018, 09:24:37 AM »

Hm.  Strange thing is that in the winter, I thought they had a shuttle system set up for skiers.  At least, that is the way it was last I went skiing up there a couple of decades ago.
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US 89

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Re: Tolls proposed for Cottonwood Canyons
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2018, 07:08:43 PM »

The bill passed, according to this article on KSL:

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it will be at least two years before Utahns see electronically monitored toll roads in the state, including in Little Cottonwood Canyon, where construction on an additional lane is set to start.

But here's the big change that was made, which is that tolls can now be expanded to any state road:

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The bill had been amended in the Senate to expand tolling to any state road, not just those that are newly constructed or expanded, as a way to increase transportation revenues.

"This is not a rush to go out and put toll roads all across the state," Rep. Mike Schultz, R-Hooper, the House sponsor of SB71, said during the House debate. He said it did not specify where tolls would be imposed.

"It does not enact tolls on Utah roads," Schultz said. "It does not install toll booths."

Schultz said the state doesn't want to be caught "flat-footed" as gas tax revenues dwindle with the emergence of alternative fuel vehicles. The gas tax covers about 50 percent of roadwork in the state, while the rest comes from the general fund.

Alternatively, couldn't there be an extra tax on alternative fuel vehicles to replace the gas tax, instead of requiring all cars to pay the tolls?

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The measure allows the Utah Department of Transportation to establish tollways on new or expanding roads as well as existing ones. It also allows the use of cameras and video technology to monitor toll roads and enforcement of high-occupancy vehicle lanes.

I'm all for policing the current HOV/HOT lanes better. I'd especially like if they could catch people who crossed the double-white line, but I'll take anything to improve enforcement of that lane.

Quote
Niederhauser said the state will have "so many possibilities when we have electronic tolling because it's technology," suggest the high occupancy vehicle lanes on I-15 could be converted to electronic monitoring.

That would enable drivers who don't have passengers to be charged in more than just a single HOV lane, Niederhauser said, "maybe all the lanes at some point and it will be congestion pricing" that's higher in heavier traffic.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it illegal to put up new tolls on Interstate highway general purpose lanes?



Hm.  Strange thing is that in the winter, I thought they had a shuttle system set up for skiers.  At least, that is the way it was last I went skiing up there a couple of decades ago.

There are park-and-ride lots on Wasatch Blvd with shuttles that go up the canyons, but they fill up fast and most people just drive up the canyons themselves.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2018, 07:14:05 PM by roadguy2 »
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Re: Tolls proposed for Cottonwood Canyons
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2018, 08:07:21 PM »

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it illegal to put up new tolls on Interstate highway general purpose lanes?

It makes it ineligible for Federal funding, but it's not strictly prohibited.
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vdeane

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Re: Tolls proposed for Cottonwood Canyons
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2018, 08:08:48 PM »

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it illegal to put up new tolls on Interstate highway general purpose lanes?
For now, but with Trump's infrastructure proposal, I don't expect that prohibitin to last much longer.
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Rothman

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Re: Tolls proposed for Cottonwood Canyons
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2018, 09:57:18 PM »

Absurd for me to pay tolls for a road my taxes also paid for.  Double whammee.
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triplemultiplex

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Re: Tolls proposed for Cottonwood Canyons
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2018, 06:29:40 PM »

Absurd for me to pay tolls for a road my taxes also paid for.
Why is that absurd?  Especially when the revenue goes to improving and maintaining that road?
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Rothman

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Re: Tolls proposed for Cottonwood Canyons
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2018, 06:32:39 PM »

Absurd for me to pay tolls for a road my taxes also paid for.
Why is that absurd?  Especially when the revenue goes to improving and maintaining that road?
See the rest of the post that you did not quote.
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The Ghostbuster

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Re: Tolls proposed for Cottonwood Canyons
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2018, 04:37:46 PM »

It's the old "double taxation" argument Rothman is making. Here's a suggestion: What if the option were to just pay tolls for the road instead of paying gas taxes and tolls for the road? Get rid of the gas taxes altogether. Would that be more fair, in your opinion?
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Rothman

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Re: Tolls proposed for Cottonwood Canyons
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2018, 10:05:45 AM »

It's the old "double taxation" argument Rothman is making. Here's a suggestion: What if the option were to just pay tolls for the road instead of paying gas taxes and tolls for the road? Get rid of the gas taxes altogether. Would that be more fair, in your opinion?
Absolutely.  I have always said tax me or toll me, but never both.
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vdeane

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Re: Tolls proposed for Cottonwood Canyons
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2018, 01:18:38 PM »

I prefer taxes.  Tolls are often higher, they have issues with shunpikers increasing traffic on parallel roads, and I can't use many toll roads outside of the E-ZPass area because I won't do bill by mail (due to a combination of not wanting to pay extra fees to pay a toll and the many, many horror stories on AET facilities).  Plus tolls introduce strange situation where I have to pay to go anywhere due west, due south, or to the east, but not north or southwest (plus in NYC there's a ton of congestion due to a similar situation causing people to bridge shop instead of taking whichever one is the most logical to get between their origin and destination).
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1

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Re: Tolls proposed for Cottonwood Canyons
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2018, 01:31:18 PM »

I prefer taxes.  Tolls are often higher, they have issues with shunpikers increasing traffic on parallel roads, and I can't use many toll roads outside of the E-ZPass area because I won't do bill by mail (due to a combination of not wanting to pay extra fees to pay a toll and the many, many horror stories on AET facilities).  Plus tolls introduce strange situation where I have to pay to go anywhere due west, due south, or to the east, but not north or southwest (plus in NYC there's a ton of congestion due to a similar situation causing people to bridge shop instead of taking whichever one is the most logical to get between their origin and destination).

East shouldn't be a problem for you. The Mass Pike is about 5¢ per mile using E-ZPass. You're only increasing costs by about 25% if you also consider gasoline costs and per-mile maintenance costs.
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vdeane

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Re: Tolls proposed for Cottonwood Canyons
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2018, 07:23:07 PM »

The main Thruway ticket system has approximately that rate (for NY E-ZPass), but the MassPike is actually closer to 7 cents per mile for an out of state E-ZPass.

I regularly drive between Albany and Rochester to visit family.  The tolls are $9.50 (approximately) each way.  The trip (round trip) uses about a tank of gas, which I can usually fill up for about $25, so the tolls add quite a bit.  I can't say I've ever factored in per-mile maintenance into the cost of a roadtrip, but I do know that tolls are the biggest in-your-face expense I have (since gas stations don't tell you how much the tax is, and my car only holds 12 gallons anyways, so the price of gas would have to swing by a LOT for me to notice).

In any case, it's still odd that I have to pay more to go to New Jersey, Boston, or Syracuse, while Binghamton and Montréal are "free".
« Last Edit: March 06, 2018, 07:25:23 PM by vdeane »
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i-215

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Re: Tolls proposed for Cottonwood Canyons
« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2018, 02:29:29 AM »

Absurd for me to pay tolls for a road my taxes also paid for.
Why is that absurd?  Especially when the revenue goes to improving and maintaining that road?

It's absurd because either ALL roads must be tolled or none.  There is no way I can get a gas tax waiver for the mileage I spend on a tolled facility.  It creates geographical unfairness within the region, which one area paying a disproportionately-higher tax rate than other areas with untolled facilities.

It sounds silly, but the week I spent in Chicago:  The Tri-State Toll Road scared me the hell right out of the state.  If I had to live in the midwest, I'd sure be more at ease in Des Moines than anywhere in Illinois.  We've been killin' it with the economy out west, and I think untolled facilities are a huge part of that.  It's gonna be a big mistake turning the west into the Northeast, imo.   Big mistake.

Need to GPS my mileage?  Fine.  As long as it is uniform on ALL roads (like the gas tax).  None of this double-dipping nonsense.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2018, 02:32:08 AM by i-215 »
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triplemultiplex

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Re: Tolls proposed for Cottonwood Canyons
« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2018, 09:06:08 AM »

It sounds silly, but the week I spent in Chicago:  The Tri-State Toll Road scared me the hell right out of the state.  If I had to live in the midwest, I'd sure be more at ease in Des Moines than anywhere in Illinois.  We've been killin' it with the economy out west, and I think untolled facilities are a huge part of that.  It's gonna be a big mistake turning the west into the Northeast, imo.   Big mistake.

That's quite the specious argument.

Strange to cite Illinois as an example against tolling when the toll roads are in way, way better shape than pretty much all the 'free' interstates.
That's the end I care about.  Is the physical road good? 

As an example, if ISTHA took over I-55, that would be marvelous.  They'd whip that POS into shape in barely a decade.
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Re: Tolls proposed for Cottonwood Canyons
« Reply #15 on: March 10, 2018, 03:57:27 PM »

I think that says more about Illinois than about tolling.  One can also cite Pennsylvania.  And Indiana.
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i-215

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Re: Tolls proposed for Cottonwood Canyons
« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2018, 11:46:53 PM »

It sounds silly, but the week I spent in Chicago:  The Tri-State Toll Road scared me the hell right out of the state.  If I had to live in the midwest, I'd sure be more at ease in Des Moines than anywhere in Illinois.  We've been killin' it with the economy out west, and I think untolled facilities are a huge part of that.  It's gonna be a big mistake turning the west into the Northeast, imo.   Big mistake.

That's quite the specious argument.

Strange to cite Illinois as an example against tolling when the toll roads are in way, way better shape than pretty much all the 'free' interstates.
That's the end I care about.  Is the physical road good? 

As an example, if ISTHA took over I-55, that would be marvelous.  They'd whip that POS into shape in barely a decade.

You driven in Arizona, Utah, or Nevada (states that actually fund maintenece).  I'll take a Vegas freeway over an Illinois toll road ANY day.

That said, the Illinois toll roads weren't bad.  I certainly didn't mean that.  But have you driven on US-41?  It sucks.  Pretty much every north-south running road that "competes" with the toll road is in HORRIBLE shape (as opposed to east-west ones which were strangely good).  It probably wasn't intentional, but there's such an over-reliance on tolling there, other roads have suffered.

When roads are funded with fuel taxes or other universal user fees, the maintenance is more equitable across the entire network.

Show me a bad freeway in Utah.  In Arizona.  In Nevada.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2018, 11:49:32 PM by i-215 »
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Rothman

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Re: Tolls proposed for Cottonwood Canyons
« Reply #17 on: March 15, 2018, 07:54:46 AM »

When you only have to maintain half-a-dozen of them, it really isn't a good comparison.
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Re: Tolls proposed for Cottonwood Canyons
« Reply #18 on: March 15, 2018, 10:56:39 AM »

When you only have to maintain half-a-dozen of them, it really isn't a good comparison.

Utah, Nevada, and Arizona also largely don't have to deal with the stresses freeze/thaw cycles and plowing put on roads.
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Re: Tolls proposed for Cottonwood Canyons
« Reply #19 on: March 15, 2018, 01:24:55 PM »

When you only have to maintain half-a-dozen of them, it really isn't a good comparison.

Utah, Nevada, and Arizona also largely don't have to deal with the stresses freeze/thaw cycles and plowing put on roads.

What about the mountainous areas of those three states?
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Re: Tolls proposed for Cottonwood Canyons
« Reply #20 on: March 15, 2018, 02:12:06 PM »

When you only have to maintain half-a-dozen of them, it really isn't a good comparison.

Utah, Nevada, and Arizona also largely don't have to deal with the stresses freeze/thaw cycles and plowing put on roads.

What about the mountainous areas of those three states?
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US 89

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Re: Tolls proposed for Cottonwood Canyons
« Reply #21 on: March 15, 2018, 06:00:50 PM »

When you only have to maintain half-a-dozen of them, it really isn't a good comparison.

Utah, Nevada, and Arizona also largely don't have to deal with the stresses freeze/thaw cycles and plowing put on roads.

What about the mountainous areas of those three states?

That may be true for southern Arizona and Vegas, but pretty much everywhere in Utah except for the low-elevation valleys around St. George sees at least a few significant snowstorms in a year (in fact, Salt Lake City gets 50 inches of snow a year on average). The same goes for northern Nevada.

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Re: Tolls proposed for Cottonwood Canyons
« Reply #22 on: March 16, 2018, 11:38:05 AM »

Utah, Nevada and Arizona have their truck traffic and they have their winters, but not even SLC gets the kind of frost in the ground we do in the upper Midwest.  And none of those states move the volume of trucks that Chicago area interstates do.  There are so many more heavily traveled, nationally-important interstate highways.  I think it's apples and crab apples.

Sure Nevada has better interstates; there's only two of 'em.  Illinois has more mainline interstates than NV, AZ and UT combined; both in quantity and mileage (pretty sure they got more miles; just thinking off the top of my head.  If not, it's gotta be close.)

Mountains are their own beast, but only affect short portions of highways in those states.

Equatable maintenance is a double-edged sword.  Fine when a state is doing it well.  But if they suck, it all goes to shit.  We're finding that out up here in WI.
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US 89

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Re: Tolls proposed for Cottonwood Canyons
« Reply #23 on: January 07, 2020, 06:35:36 PM »

ABC 4 ran an article today suggesting a toll may be implemented in Little Cottonwood Canyon by 2022:

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COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah (ABC4 News) – If you’ve been up to the Cottonwood Canyons, you’ve probably noticed the red snake of cars along Wasatch Boulevard up to the ski resorts during the winter months.

The Utah Department of Transportation is looking to mitigate the traffic and make it easier to get up to places like Little Cottonwood Canyon.

John Thomas with UDOT is in charge of the Environment Impact Statement. He says, “UDOT has taken the approach to look at Little Cottonwood Canyon to see what options are available to help improve transportation.”

Quote
“One of the ways we are trying to improve transportation up Little Cottonwood Canyon is getting people to carpool, to use transit, to find ways to get fewer vehicles up and down the canyon,” says Thomas.

UDOT may institute a toll by 2022 as a result of the study.

In the recent Environmental Impact Study update, UDOT states:

“Roadway elements do not meet current design standards; for example, shoulders that are narrow, and horizontal and vertical curves that are steep and/or sharp,” and “Limited parking at trailheads and ski areas leads to on-road parking that reduces mobility and safety for all users.”

Rothman

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Re: Tolls proposed for Cottonwood Canyons
« Reply #24 on: January 07, 2020, 11:50:38 PM »

Here we go again...
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