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Old February 28th, 2015, 02:22 PM   #10401
Svartmetall
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mirror's Edge View Post
Tolls suck but Texas do have low taxes so it makes sense there, + you can avoid the HOT lanes so some of the roads on that list is not even tolled.

Its worse when a really highly taxed place start to charge on top of insane taxes, and its non-avoidable tolls too.
Texas has some of the highest property taxes though to compensate for the lack of income tax. What I've learned is that in "low tax" states (like New Zealand), there will inevitably be hidden costs everywhere to make up for the shortfall. It's just not direct taxation like we're more used to.

Back to topic: thanks to everyone who responded to my comments/questions. It is interesting to note how far down the toll route that Texas has gone. It reminds me somewhat of Sydney in Australia - they favour expensive toll roads everywhere, but there they have been a universal failure due to administration costs they end up not making enough money (Clem Jones in Brisbane I believe is in a similar situation too). Will be interesting to see how the economics of this works out for Texas too.
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Old February 28th, 2015, 05:13 PM   #10402
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Traditional funding cannot meet the need of Texas highway development. There are basically five things you can do;

* do nothing: congestion worsens exponentially.
* add tolls: fund large expansion projects with toll lanes or new toll roads.
* increase taxes: raise the gas tax significantly. Not a very popular idea anywhere.
* replace the gas tax with a mileage-based fee. Currently being tested in Washington and Oregon.
* find new funding sources: introduce new taxes such as a road or vehicle tax.
* supplement with mass transit-get everyone who doesn't NEED the highway out of cars
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Old February 28th, 2015, 05:22 PM   #10403
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Mass transit doesn't make much of a difference in the highway needs of Texas. Capital MetroRail in Austin being a case in point, with over $ 150 million spent to move 2,500 people per day - similar to a secondary rural road.
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Old February 28th, 2015, 05:47 PM   #10404
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Mass transit doesn't make much of a difference in the highway needs of Texas. Capital MetroRail in Austin being a case in point, with over $ 150 million spent to move 2,500 people per day - similar to a secondary rural road.
DART in Dallas is a better example-how many people does that system carry?
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Old February 28th, 2015, 06:10 PM   #10405
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DART in Dallas is a better example-how many people does that system carry?
Costs billions of dollars and transports 100k people per year. Yeah, much better.
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Old February 28th, 2015, 06:38 PM   #10406
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DART carries around 100,000 riders a day on its rail system. Mass transit is useful in dense cities and to large central business districts, but won't help much to reduce traffic in large metropolitan areas of Texas, except for a few select links (such as to the Texas Medical Center in Houston). Even in Dallas 80% of traffic at the I-30 and I-35E interchange does not have a destination or origin in Downtown.
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Old February 28th, 2015, 06:40 PM   #10407
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Originally Posted by Svartmetall View Post
It reminds me somewhat of Sydney in Australia - they favour expensive toll roads everywhere, but there they have been a universal failure due to administration costs they end up not making enough money (Clem Jones in Brisbane I believe is in a similar situation too). Will be interesting to see how the economics of this works out for Texas too.
Why won't the tolls cover the costs? In some developing nations, toll roads seem to be very profitable to the extent that American and Canadian operators invest in them. I wonder what's the difference in Texas or Australia.
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Old February 28th, 2015, 06:46 PM   #10408
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Most of these toll roads in Australia are very expensive tunnels, and they had unrealistic traffic forecasting at some of those projects. Tolling itself causes a loss of demand (the pricing off lower value trips concept).

Most of the toll projects in Dallas were fairly straightfoward, either a large-scale widening or a greenfield toll road. The LBJ Express project is the first to feature a complex design of several levels of traffic.

But not all of Texas' toll roads are a success. The SH 130 southern extension from Austin to Seguin carries less traffic than anticipated, I believe the operator was close to bankruptcy. That's the famous 85 miles per hour toll road.
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Old February 28th, 2015, 07:52 PM   #10409
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Mass transit doesn't make much of a difference in the highway needs of Texas. Capital MetroRail in Austin being a case in point, with over $ 150 million spent to move 2,500 people per day - similar to a secondary rural road.
Austin's capitol metrorail has a long weird story. For decades there had been proposals to build a serious light rail network in Austin, with reasonable ridership forecasts. At the same time, Capitol Metro bought a lightly used freight line and in 1997 brought in a Siemens RegioSprinter as a demonstration.

When the more serious light rail proposal lost the election by a narrow margin in 2000, there were still a lot of people who wanted rail mass transit.

At some point it became politically expedient to fall back on the DMU commuter rail idea, which was sold to the public as being "cheap". But then the costs ballooned, and in typical Texas fashion a lot of leaders had "shiny object" syndrome and ignored how the whole thing was pointless. For one, express buses used to run a more direct route, and the trains can't turn very well so the tracks couldn't penetrate downtown. Oh well.

Last year they tried again with a modern streetcar that would have run in mixed traffic and would have been terrible. It failed. Hopefully for good. Then they opened the "BRT" which is a marginal improvement over a typical bus route. IMO the problem with transit in Austin is that the areas with the largest ridership needs are hard to build infrastructure to and there is a NIMBY attitude towards anything that removes auto lanes from streets. To get light rail on Guadalupe street where the city's busiest bus routes go, they'd practically have to build a subway. Not gonna happen. The construction of a massive flood control tunnel using a huge TBM got some people exuberant about that, but lol. Austin wants to be the most progressive city in Texas, but its not.

But enough about that. In the same time period they built the 183 freeway/toll road and the stack at I-35, serving a similar corridor. Honestly I see the two things(roads and transit) as serving completely different purposes. Austin is growing rapidly so there is both a lot of interest in urban development and a lot of suburban sprawl happening at the same time.
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Last edited by zaphod; February 28th, 2015 at 08:02 PM.
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Old March 1st, 2015, 07:03 AM   #10410
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Here in WA, it seems like raising the sales tax and/or putting tolls is the main way to finance projects. Like Texas there is no state income tax here. The 520 bridge is being financed by tolls (as much as almost $6 either way during peak times) and the I-405 widening will have HOT lanes when it is finished. I think this is the new way of financing highway expansions in the country in general.
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Old March 1st, 2015, 09:19 PM   #10411
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New Jersey and Oregon the only states with full-service mandatory gas stations... that's awesome!
No! That sucked (at least in NJ when I lived there).

The attendants were horrible (never understanding what I wanted, sometimes getting debit/credit cards mixed up with other customers).
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Old March 1st, 2015, 10:14 PM   #10412
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Maybe it's because I grew up in New Jersey and I'm used to it, or maybe it's a generational thing, but I like full service. (For starters, if you buy food on the same stop, your hands don't smell like gasoline as you're eating it. Even washing them doesn't always take that away.)
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Old March 2nd, 2015, 06:11 AM   #10413
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Maybe it's because I grew up in New Jersey and I'm used to it, or maybe it's a generational thing, but I like full service. (For starters, if you buy food on the same stop, your hands don't smell like gasoline as you're eating it. Even washing them doesn't always take that away.)
you could eat first, then fuel up....
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Old March 2nd, 2015, 07:12 AM   #10414
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you could eat first, then fuel up....
This. The first thing I do when I get to a rest stop is take care clearing out and reloading my own fuel system before I worry about the car.

Then, when I'm done with gas, I hop in and drive off.

Every rest stop I've ever seen is set up to make this the easiest way to do things too. Where are you stopping that it isn't more convenient this way?
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Old March 2nd, 2015, 07:24 AM   #10415
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you could eat first, then fuel up....
Or take a pee and buy something to eat while the attendant fills the tank and be on my way with clean hands and actually having saved a bit of time. :-)

(Yes, this assumes that I'm eating something that I can manage with one hand while I'm driving...)
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Old March 3rd, 2015, 01:42 AM   #10416
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gas station hot dog? LOL

I am like scared to let attendant touch my car. I specifically avoid full-service places for that...
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Old March 3rd, 2015, 01:45 AM   #10417
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Wawa or QuickChek.

I like Sheetz too, but they haven't reached New Jersey.
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Old March 3rd, 2015, 01:55 AM   #10418
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I always laugh at Sheetz signs and have never tanked at one. I mean... oh sheetz

I remember tanking at a Love's in Michigan with my ex, she saw the hot dog machine and was so impressed by it, she had not seen one before. But we ate in the "restaurant" part instead.
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Old March 3rd, 2015, 03:37 AM   #10419
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Full service seems kind of pointless in an era when you can automatically put how much you need in a tank on your own.
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Old March 3rd, 2015, 06:21 AM   #10420
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A photo of the Verrazano–Narrows Bridge I took today

DSC_0223 by Nexis4Jersey09, on Flickr
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