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View Poll Results: What do you think of congestion pricing?
Yes, it helps pay for mass transit. 5 41.67%
Yes, it gets me past traffic. 0 0%
No, it only gets used by the rich. 3 25.00%
No, it does nothing for traffic. 4 33.33%
Voters: 12. You may not vote on this poll

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Old January 16th, 2009, 12:57 AM   #281
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The whole plan was a bit exaggerated. I mean, a 10 lane freeway in rural areas? If they widen the I-35 to 6 lanes that ought to be enough as long as they don't construct new cities along the freeway on a pace Houston and Dallas do.
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Old January 16th, 2009, 09:31 AM   #282
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You can herd cats easier than you can corral land developers.
Yeah that's true. And local governments are always interested in those land developers because of extra property tax income.
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Old January 16th, 2009, 09:20 PM   #283
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How not, when you have to pay for driving on Bulgarian roads?
I see that no one replied since... The Bulgarian system is pretty much like the Slovene one except for the validity period of vignettes and respectively their price. When you enter the country, you have to buy a vignette at the border if you don't have a valid one. There are 3 types of vignettes for each of the 3 categories of vehicles: weekly, monthly and for the whole year.
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Old January 16th, 2009, 10:06 PM   #284
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And it's obligatory for all roads in Bulgaria, right? In Slovenia you only need it for motorways and expressways.
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Old January 17th, 2009, 02:42 AM   #285
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For all roads out of cities, towns or village. However there are several exceptions, for example the Varna - Zlatni Pjasâci 2x2 road, because, de facto, the city of Varna goes beyond Zlatni Pjasâci, the whole area being densely populated. I think Sofia's ring road is another exception of the vignette system.
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Old January 19th, 2009, 04:03 PM   #286
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Brisbane to lose toll booths from July 1

BRISBANE, Jan 18 AAP - Brisbane's toll roads will go cash-free two years earlier than planned, promising to save drivers 10 minutes on their journey.

The electronic system, dubbed "free flow tolling", was to be introduced in 2011 but will now start on July 1.

Transponders will be provided for free, and will work at the Gateway Motorway and Logan Motorway tolls, and future toll roads planned for the city.

They will also be compatible with electronic toll systems interstate.

Treasurer Andrew Fraser said where other states required a deposit on the transponder, charged a minimum annual usage fee or a rental fee, the Queensland government would not.

"The transponders will be free and we'll introduce a 25 cent rise to the toll on the Gateway bridge in 2011 when the full benefits of free flow tolling are in place," he told reporters in Brisbane.

"That means Queenslanders will only ever pay for what they use."

Drivers who pass the tolls without a transponder will have their licence plates recorded, and will have to contact Queensland Motorways to pay the toll, plus a 40 cent fee.

The change could put up to 130 toll collectors out of work, but some are expected to remain with the company.

Meanwhile, savings in the Gateway Motorway upgrade project will pay for the government to add extra lanes on the stretch between Wynnum Road and Old Cleveland Road.

The area, which caters for 90,000 vehicles each day, was to be widened to six lanes, but will now be eight lanes.

The expansion was forecast to be needed by 2017, but would be cheaper in the long run to deliver now, Mr Fraser said.

"What that means also is about another 100 days of employment for the people working on this project, which is important in the current (economic) environment," he said.

When the upgrade is complete in July 2011, it is expected to save commuters up to 25 minutes a day in conjunction with free flow tolling.

With the 25 cent toll rise and allowing for CPI, the toll will be between $3.55 and $3.60.
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Old January 21st, 2009, 03:34 PM   #287
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Report: Connecticut drivers likely to fight any proposal to reinstate tolls on state highways
19 January 2009

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Consultants studying the possibility of reinstating tolls on some Connecticut highways are warning that officials could face a tough battle from the public.

The state Transportation Strategy Board is reviewing a report by Cambridge Systematics, a Massachusetts consultant expected to unveil the results of its $1 million analysis next month.

The consultants were asked to review ways to ease gridlock on Connecticut roads, including whether adding tolls on some highways would be feasible.

The report outlines options such as creating toll lanes parallel to highways that would let drivers travel faster; charging drivers statewide based on miles they travel; and limiting tolls to highways that need work.

"Public acceptance will be more of a challenge," the report said of an idea to charge only trucks. "Diversion to local roads may be significant."

Fairfield County drivers also could be charged higher "congestion pricing" fees to use Interstate 95 and the Merritt Parkway during rush hour and varying fees at other times, the report said.

"Tolling existing toll-free corridors would be a challenge," the report said.

The Transportation Strategy Board expects to review the report and make its recommendations this spring to the General Assembly and Gov. M. Jodi Rell. Rell has said she opposes reinstating tolls.

Tolls were removed from Connecticut highways and bridges in the 1980s, and repeated suggestions to reinstate them have been greeted with mixed emotions by lawmakers and drivers.

Karen Burnaska, a member of the Transportation Strategy Board, said a small state like Connecticut faces complex issues with tolls.

"We have a lot to consider," Burnaska said. "Connecticut has some very unique features and you can't assume that what works on the Massachusetts Turnpike will work on I-95."

Some other options being examined in the report are:

-- Imposing tolls on all limited-access highways in the state, including the Merritt Parkway, I-95, I-91, I-84 and Route 8.

-- Tolling all traffic on I-95 north of New Haven and I-84 near Danbury, or tolling specially created express lanes to fund expansion of those corridors.

-- Placing tolls at state borders, ensuring out-of-state travelers pay a share of maintaining highways.

-- Tolling only truck traffic.

-- Converting highway shoulders into so-called HOT lanes, allowing drivers pay to use lanes reserved for carpoolers or buses.

State Sen. Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, vice chairman of the legislature's transportation committee, said it is likely tolls will face strong opposition.

Congestion pricing in Fairfield County and elsewhere punishes residents unless the state gives them the option of better rail service and mass transit, Duff said.

"We don't have our mass transit house in order yet, so people don't have a realistic option besides using their cars," Duff said. "On our railways we don't have enough parking or seats right now."

State Rep. Lile Gibbons, R-Greenwich, another member of the transportation committee, said she supports electronic tolls to raise money to maintain heavily traveled highways.

"The technology of the EZ-Pass system is so advanced that there is no resemblance to the toll booths of yesterday," Gibbons said.

"We have too many people who use Connecticut as a pass-through to get from the southern part of the country into New England, who add to the wear and tear of our highways and contribute nothing to the upkeep," Gibbons said.
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Old January 22nd, 2009, 03:39 AM   #288
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I guess Brisbane must be the last city to get rid of toll booths and go cash-free, I can't think of any others that actually use booths any more (maybe Sydney has a few, though I think they're currently being zoned out)
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Old January 22nd, 2009, 03:28 PM   #289
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Oslo still uses toll booths for their congestion charging. Stockholm has a similar system to Brisbane but the downside is that only Swedish registered cars can be tolled as cameras take shots of the license plate as grounds for tolling.
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Old January 22nd, 2009, 07:44 PM   #290
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I guess Brisbane must be the last city to get rid of toll booths and go cash-free, I can't think of any others that actually use booths any more (maybe Sydney has a few, though I think they're currently being zoned out)
Yeah, in Sydney the Eastern Distributor, M2, M4 and M5 motorways still have cash booths, I think. They want to make the M2 cashless, in the same way that they've recently removed the cash booths from the Sydney Harbour Tunnel and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which would leave only one or two cash booths (depending on direction of travel) on the orbital. I don't know of any plans to make the Eastern Distributor, M4 or M5 cashless, although it will probably happen eventually. All new toll roads in Sydney are being made cashless.

While we're on the subject of Sydney's toll roads, the Sydney Harbour Bridge should not have a toll on it any longer. When it opened in 1932, the government said it would only toll the bridge until it had paid off the loans that it had to take out to build the structure. These loans were finally paid off in the early 1990s, but the toll was retained in order to help fund the construction of the Sydney Harbour Tunnel. The tunnel has been open, and generating its own income through tolls, since 1994, but there is still a toll for southbound traffic on the Harbour Bridge.

An oddity about Sydney's roads is that the government started building the M4 and M5 motorways (which were then called the F4 and F5 freeways) many years ago, with the promise that they would not be tolled. In the 1980s, private companies were contracted to fill in the missing links that had not yet been built (except the innermost sections, which were permanently cancelled in the 1970s), and allowed them to put tolls on the roads. Because of the government's promise not to toll the roads, however, it is possible to claim back the toll paid on these roads from the government - but not the sales tax paid on the toll!
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Old January 22nd, 2009, 10:19 PM   #291
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An oddity about Sydney's roads is that the government started building the M4 and M5 motorways (which were then called the F4 and F5 freeways) many years ago, with the promise that they would not be tolled. In the 1980s, private companies were contracted to fill in the missing links that had not yet been built (except the innermost sections, which were permanently cancelled in the 1970s), and allowed them to put tolls on the roads. Because of the government's promise not to toll the roads, however, it is possible to claim back the toll paid on these roads from the government - but not the sales tax paid on the toll!
You mean you can hold politicians accountable for their promises?? This is unheard of!

Strange thing about the sales tax though. How can you tax a transaction that hasn't really occurred?
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 05:05 PM   #292
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Massachusetts Turnpike Authority schedules toll-hike discussion, not expected vote
21 January 2009

BOSTON (AP) - The Massachusetts Turnpike Authority apparently has decided to delay a planned toll increase.

A vote scheduled for Thursday on whether to double some polls has been converted into a discussion only at a meeting of the authority's board.

Board spokesman Mac Daniel refused to elaborate, but board member Mary Connaughton said it's clear the Patrick administration wants to delay the hike until it and the Legislature can discuss a comprehensive transportation overhaul.

The board had voted Nov. 14 on a plan to raise tolls within Route 128, including from $1.25 to $2 at the Weston and Allston booths and from $3.50 to $7 at the Sumner and Ted Williams tunnels near Logan International Airport. It scheduled a second vote for mid-January, following four public hearings.

"I think it marks a re-evaluation of the $100 million toll hike," Connaughton said. "Clearly the people were outraged by this amount."

Connaughton also said the need for the hike has been curtailed after the Pike was able to eliminate a $35 million debt from a so-called debt swaption by making a $3 million payment.

"That financial Sword of Damocles was removed and gives the Turnpike more room to work with the commonwealth," she said.
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 05:09 PM   #293
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The Massachusetts Turnpike costs about 1.8 eurocents per kilometer. Compare that to the 8.5 cents a French tollroad costs... tolls in the U.S. are still very low compared to Europe.

correction...

Tolls in Europe are still very high compared to the U.S.
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 05:21 PM   #294
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And the quality of the roads shows the difference in the amount of money being collected.
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 06:36 PM   #295
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Quote:
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Oslo still uses toll booths for their congestion charging.
Not correct, Oslo's toll booths dissappeared last year. Cars without Autopass transponders are recorded on video. The registration number is detetected using advanced image processing, and the cars are billed later. The system works for cars from many foreign countries as well. Other cities in Norway have been using a similar systems for years. In fact, one of the leading automatic toll system providers is Norwegian (www.q-free.com). Q-free for instance delivered the system to Stockholm, and also at least some of the systems of Sydney.

BTW: Neither Oslo nor any other city in Norway has congestion charging, the money is collected to fund infrastructure, not to reduce traffic.
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Yeah, in Sydney the Eastern Distributor, M2, M4 and M5 motorways still have cash booths, I think. They want to make the M2 cashless, in the same way that they've recently removed the cash booths from the Sydney Harbour Tunnel and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which would leave only one or two cash booths (depending on direction of travel) on the orbital. I don't know of any plans to make the Eastern Distributor, M4 or M5 cashless, although it will probably happen eventually. All new toll roads in Sydney are being made cashless.

While we're on the subject of Sydney's toll roads, the Sydney Harbour Bridge should not have a toll on it any longer. When it opened in 1932, the government said it would only toll the bridge until it had paid off the loans that it had to take out to build the structure. These loans were finally paid off in the early 1990s, but the toll was retained in order to help fund the construction of the Sydney Harbour Tunnel. The tunnel has been open, and generating its own income through tolls, since 1994, but there is still a toll for southbound traffic on the Harbour Bridge.

An oddity about Sydney's roads is that the government started building the M4 and M5 motorways (which were then called the F4 and F5 freeways) many years ago, with the promise that they would not be tolled. In the 1980s, private companies were contracted to fill in the missing links that had not yet been built (except the innermost sections, which were permanently cancelled in the 1970s), and allowed them to put tolls on the roads. Because of the government's promise not to toll the roads, however, it is possible to claim back the toll paid on these roads from the government - but not the sales tax paid on the toll!
Regardless of how it is funded, it is clear that Sydney needs a better infrastructure. It does have a very limited PT compared with other cities of it's size, and I found the city quite difficult to navigate by bike. In other words, Sydney is car-dependent like any US city, but does not have the road network to make it work. To make matter worse, many of it's main arteries are running straight through residential areas, with parked cars, drive ways and what have we not....
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 06:42 PM   #296
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And the quality of the roads shows the difference in the amount of money being collected.
Yeah, but tolls are only one kind of income. Other auto mobility related taxes are also much higher in Europe than most other countries. A car is basically seen as an endless source of income here. In my opinion, all those taxes are getting out of hand and are becoming increasingly disproportional.

The income vs spending ratio is already about 9:1 in NL for roads.
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 07:41 PM   #297
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Regardless of how it is funded, it is clear that Sydney needs a better infrastructure. It does have a very limited PT compared with other cities of it's size, and I found the city quite difficult to navigate by bike. In other words, Sydney is car-dependent like any US city, but does not have the road network to make it work. To make matter worse, many of it's main arteries are running straight through residential areas, with parked cars, drive ways and what have we not....
I agree, but better infrastructure for Sydney doesn't seem to be a priority for the government. The Spit Bridge widening was recently cancelled, simply because the government thinks it would cost too much money, meanwhile the entirety of the Northern Beaches area is forced to commute via either the Spit Bridge - a four-lane, single carriageway, 60 km/h opening bridge - or the Roseville Bridge - a 2x3, 80 km/h high level bridge that proceeds to dump traffic onto one of two four lane single carriageways with parked cars in the outside lanes.

They want to connect the F3 to Sydney's orbital with a tunnel, too, but because their priority is a Sydney bypass and not improving travel within Sydney, they aren't going to be allowing access between the tunnel and the orbital facing east, meaning that traffic between the F3 and Sydney's CBD will still need to exit the motorway where it currently ends and fight its way down the 60 km/h Pacific Highway, which is often terribly congested and has very narrow lanes for such an important stretch of road.

Finally, a couple of years ago the government scrapped plans for an M4 East tunnel, which would finally complete the F4 Freeway that had its innermost section permanently cancelled in the 1970s, albeit underground. The logic behind this move eludes me, as traffic along Parramatta Road east of where the M4 ends during rush hour is so terrible that rat-running is a common occurrence, putting strain not only on the designated main artery but also on many 50 km/h streets in the area.

And yet, while some areas of Sydney have such poor radial connections, the government recently widened the outbound carriageway of the M2 from two to three lanes - which wouldn't necessarily have been a bad idea, if they didn't reduce the speed limit from 100 km/h to 80 (and 70 through the tunnel) to cope with the fact that there is now inadequate shoulder space.
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 11:23 PM   #298
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It will probably never happen because widening is impossible in Connecticut (except in rural areas, land costs are too high), but the idea of HOT lanes could be very feasible down more congested corridors like I-95 and many highways in Greater Hartford.

On I-91 and I-84 in the Hartford area, there are already sections with HOV lanes.
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Old January 24th, 2009, 05:08 PM   #299
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... the government recently widened the outbound carriageway of the M2 from two to three lanes - which wouldn't necessarily have been a bad idea, if they didn't reduce the speed limit from 100 km/h to 80 (and 70 through the tunnel) to cope with the fact that there is now inadequate shoulder space.
Is the 80km/h speed limit permanent? And for what length does it apply?
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Old January 24th, 2009, 08:54 PM   #300
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Is the 80km/h speed limit permanent? And for what length does it apply?
I read somewhere that the reduced speed limit is only in place while they investigate options for widening the motorway; when they added the extra lane all they did was used up the shoulder space. What confuses me is why they didn't just widen the motorway itself to begin with, and also why they only added a third lane in one direction - at the moment you can travel 80 km/h westbound, but 100 km/h eastbound. I would have thought it would only make things worse, since you have to merge back into two lanes halfway along the motorway anyway. And knowing the way our government goes about these things, it's going to be a long time before we actually see any additional widening works, so even if it isn't permanent it's going to be around for quite some time (and already has been for more than a year now).

As for the length that it applies for, the 80 km/h and 70 km/h sections put together go for about 6 km. Here is the motorway on Google Maps with the 3+2 section highlighted; most of it has an 80 km/h speed limit westbound, but the westernmost part through the tunnel is 70. Eastbound, there are two lanes with a 100 speed limit (except at the toll point, where it reduces to 80 I think). East of here there is the 2x2 Lane Cove Tunnel with a limit of 80 in both directions, and west of here there is a 2x2 motorway with a limit of 100 both ways.
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