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Old February 2nd, 2013, 07:14 PM   #8721
Sunfuns
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Originally Posted by Penn's Woods View Post
I'm not sure paying French-level tolls is "working just fine." $70.00 for Paris to Bordeaux?

Actually, Virginia has what may have been the first privately-owned toll road in the country since the early-20th-century Long Island Motor Parkway: the Dulles Greenway. But I do have a problem with a state's slapping tolls on existing roads that were built with Federal funds, i.e., the bulk of the Interstate system.
That I agree with. Should apply only to brand new stretches. As for tolls in France, yes they are not cheap but they do keep the highway system in mostly superb condition. Paris-Bordeaux is almost 600 km, people rarely drive that far besides in this particular case train would be much faster and < 1/2 of a price.
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 07:34 PM   #8722
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But I do have a problem with a state's slapping tolls on existing roads that were built with Federal funds, i.e., the bulk of the Interstate system.
But why? It was built some 40 - 50 years ago with tax money. But that doesn't mean roads do not cost money after they are constructed. In fact maintenance and expansion over so many years probably costs more than initial construction. And the regular funding source (gas tax) has barely been adjusted to inflation. In real terms that means the tax rate actually goes down over time.

Many bridges in the Interstate system have a poor structural condition and need to be replaced or need to undergo extensive renovation. That comes at a price, but if the traditional tax money cannot pay for it, you need to find other sources of money. That means either tolls or higher taxes. Virginia is now wanting to do both; raise the sales tax and introduce tolls to some corridors.

In many states the needs are several times larger than current taxes can fund, which means the backlog of maintenance and expansion keeps growing. That can't go on forever.
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 08:12 PM   #8723
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Pennsylvania's tolling I-80 (to take an example other than Virginia and pick on an ex-governor of my own party whom I liked, but who I believe was wrong on this) would shift the burden from Pennsylvania taxpayers, where it belongs as part of the original deal, to the users, many of them from out of state.

I guess it's the idea of breaking the original deal that seems objectionable. And if every state tolled all its Interstates, well, I don't know what the economic impact would be. I'm not sure how I feel about gas taxes versus sales taxes; but sales taxes tend to be regressive (more burdensome on lower-income people) and if memory serves - last time I was down there was September - Virginia's gas tax is relatively low. I think I'd say they should leave the gas tax where it is and if that's not enough, raise the state income tax.
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 10:20 PM   #8724
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It is ugly. And I find the sort of stacking effect (The M23(S) panel appearing on a different level than the others) confusing, although, as is often the case with signage issues, it probably comes down to what you're used to. And it's a matter of opinion and taste.
It is not confusing. It is actually the most precise way to sign which way each lane leads to.
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Old February 3rd, 2013, 12:56 AM   #8725
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I said "I find" it confusing.
And that it's a matter of taste and what you're used to.

In other words, it's my opinion.

But does any other country in the world (apart from Ireland) do this sort of thing? By "this sort of thing"...I'm not sure how to describe it...I can't think of another signage system where the vertical lines are interrupted in that way. (And yet, I'm not aware of undue numbers of accidents because those countries are not "efficiently" indicating which lanes go where.) Which may be what bothers me: I'm used to being able to scan a gantry from left to right, glancing at every panel in sequence. So my brain doesn't know what to do with panels that are sitting on top of more than one other: the sequence is broken up. I'm sure if I were actually driving in the UK, I'd get used to it soon enough.

But I still find those big gray gantries with panels stuck on them ugly.

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Old February 3rd, 2013, 02:07 AM   #8726
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And you would propose to fund large road infrastructure project how? I'm sure just repaving won't be sufficient in a long term given the still rapidly growing population of most states in US.
Yes, that, among other things (near-universal development impact fees and use of tolls where feasible, for two) is exactly what I'd do. US taxes on motor fuels are vastly lower than those in most of the developed world, and that's surely one reason our per capita use of petroleum is so ridiculously great. There are plenty of studies quantifying what the pump price of motor fuels would be if various externalites were factored in, BTW.

There is a legitimate issue in that fuel taxes are regressive. However, the best way to address that problem is to reduce other regressive taxes at the same time that fuel taxes are increased and let individuals decide whether to buy expensive gas or arrange their affairs so they don't have to. Besides, sales taxes are regressive, too.

Sadly, though, the website claims, convincingly, that this asinine proposal enjoys 2-1 support from across the political spectrum, so it'll be adopted in Virginia, then, eventually, everywhere.

Sometimes being an American is so embarrassing that I can hardly stand it.

EDIT: I'm with Chriszwolle on tolling of free motorways, too, though I wouldn't trust Pennsylvania's (for instance) political system to come up with a truly sound policy on doing it.

Last edited by Tom 958; February 3rd, 2013 at 02:27 AM. Reason: :/
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Old February 3rd, 2013, 09:22 AM   #8727
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It is not confusing. It is actually the most precise way to sign which way each lane leads to.
It's horrible. I posted a similar sign a long time ago (M25 Brentwood exit) and I ended up in a big argument with someone, I think it may have been you, but signs like that resemble everything that's wrong with UK sign posting. A woman once pulled on the hard shoulder on the M6 near Spaghetti, because she couldn't get any sense out of these roadsigns, and there was a police patrol car parked on the shoulder so she thought she'd pull over and ask for directions. After she received a ticket for stopping on the shoulder, the kind police officer told her where to go.
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Old February 4th, 2013, 05:26 AM   #8728
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Penn's Woods View Post
I'm not sure how I feel about gas taxes versus sales taxes; but sales taxes tend to be regressive (more burdensome on lower-income people) and if memory serves - last time I was down there was September - Virginia's gas tax is relatively low. I think I'd say they should leave the gas tax where it is and if that's not enough, raise the state income tax.
I think it is better to rise fuel taxes. Otherwise non-driving (however small that might be) population subsidizes drivers.
Besides higher fuel taxes/prices would be incentive to switch to more fuel efficient vehicles. That would be good in the long term.
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Old February 4th, 2013, 10:41 AM   #8729
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I don't get why it's such an issue when non-users are paying for something through taxes. It happens with everything from transit to health care. Why is it such a problem when it comes to roads?
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Old February 4th, 2013, 04:15 PM   #8730
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In theory, that's true, so far as it goes. But:

1) "The users of I-80 in Pennsylvania" and "Pennsylvania taxpayers" are not the same populations. Significantly, the users of I-80 in Pennsylvania include a lot of people who aren't Pennsylvania taxpayers and have no opportunity to react, politically, to having the burden shifted to them. For over half a century, the understanding has been that the Feds paid for most of the building of the roads and the states maintain them; individual states' trying to shift their portion of that deal away from them (or to be more precise, individual states' politicians' trying to shift their portion of that deal away from the people who can vote them out of office) feels like a breach of contract.

2) Personally, I "feel" something I'm paying out of pocket more than I feel the same amount deducted from my paycheck. (To take the healthcare example, I like the fact that I don't pay a cent when I'm at the doctor's office, and didn't have to give a second's thought last Saturday when this kidney stone started torturing me before dawn to paying the hospital. I know my insurance will take care of that and I'm paying for that through payroll deduction so it's not really "free," but it doesn't feel the same.)

3) You don't think there'd be an economic impact if people suddenly had to pay a couple of hundred dollars in tolls on the currently "free" segment of 95 from Baltimore to Florida?
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Old February 4th, 2013, 04:24 PM   #8731
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I didn't mean I-80 or I-95 specifically, but geogregor's remark that non-users subsidize roads through general taxes. The vast majority of the American population uses the road network for transportation. Even people who don't have a car still profit from the road network in some way. So it's a very tiny proportion of tax payers who pay for roads through general taxes, but don't use them. To some, this is a major issue, considered to be "unfair". But as I mentioned this happens with everything, often in much larger proportions such as public transport (DOT's sometimes spend 50% of the tax revenue on 5% on the passenger miles), health care, school districts, etcetera.

So I don't see the problem. Tolls are often considered to be more fair (the user pays principle) but the thing is that you cannot toll every back road unless they introduce VMT tolls which I don't see happening anytime soon.
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Old February 4th, 2013, 05:58 PM   #8732
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I can't think of another signage system where the vertical lines are interrupted in that way.
I don't know what you mean by that.
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Old February 4th, 2013, 06:35 PM   #8733
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I explained farther on in the same post. I'm used to being able to scan the gantry a panel at a time from one side to the other (left to right, since one reads left to right in English). Which is why I find the British gantries bothersome: if you're used to that, they're messy.
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Old February 5th, 2013, 02:17 AM   #8734
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It is not confusing. It is actually the most precise way to sign which way each lane leads to.
With regards to the U.K. style of stacking guide signs for lane assignments, I was involved in a similar discussion over at the AARoads forum. I present to you the following drawings...

#1 - Existing...

Caltrans (California Dept of Transportation) standard. Technically violates 2009 MUTCD (multiple down arrows pointing to same lane). There are 6 lanes where this sign is posted. Counting from the left, lanes #1, #2, and #3 stay on I-5. Lane #4 is an option lane to either I-5 or CA-57. Lane #5 is an option lane to either CA-57 or CA-22. Lane #6 is an exit lane for CA-22.

#2 - U.K. Style...

This was suggested by another forum member and drawn by me. As bizarre as this layout looks, it makes sense in my mind but it will NEVER get implemented in the U.S.
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Old February 5th, 2013, 09:33 AM   #8735
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Originally Posted by Penn's Woods View Post
I explained farther on in the same post. I'm used to being able to scan the gantry a panel at a time from one side to the other (left to right, since one reads left to right in English). Which is why I find the British gantries bothersome: if you're used to that, they're messy.
It is barely understandable that you have difficulties with reading stacked directional signs when stacking is pretty much the signage standard for at-grade junctions in your own country.
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Old February 5th, 2013, 06:05 PM   #8736
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Interstate 4, Orlando, Florida

Renderings of the Interstate 4 reconstruction that will take place between 2014 and 2020 and adds 4 express lanes in the median and entirely rebuilds the existing freeway. The project cost is $ 2.1 billion.











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Old February 5th, 2013, 08:09 PM   #8737
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Looks like they aren't really adding much capacity just the express lanes, especially those sections with 3x3 regular lanes. I suppose thats how they will make people take the express lanes though.
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Old February 5th, 2013, 10:33 PM   #8738
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Interstate 495, Washington Beltway

image hosted on flickr

IMG_3607 by VaDOT, on Flickr
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Old February 5th, 2013, 10:41 PM   #8739
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It is barely understandable that you have difficulties with reading stacked directional signs when stacking is pretty much the signage standard for at-grade junctions in your own country.
It's not the stacking as such, more the staggering, if that's the right word.

I've already explained it twice.
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Old February 5th, 2013, 11:00 PM   #8740
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Too messy and takes time to figure out
Quote:
Arrows too dense

How about something like this?:
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