Skip to main content

For whom the interstate tolls

Hat tip to Dave Filpus on seroads for posting this story about a guy in Apex who doesn't want tolls on 540. (As if the website address -- www.notollson540.org -- didn't give it away.)

I can sympathize with the guy. No, it doesn't seem fair on the surface that the new part of 540 that bypasses west Cary and most of Apex would be tolled, and I'd definitely agree with him that there's no reason whatsoever to toll the soon-to-be-completed portion of 540 between I-40 and NC 55. It seems that the turnpike authority's only reason to toll that part of 540 is to have a continuous turnpike that continues onto the southern extension of the Durham Freeway, also planned to be a toll road. The road's done and paid for; why toll it?

The loop to the west of NC 55, however, is another story. There was a speaker at a public hearing last night that said, essentially, that it's not fair for western Wake commuters to pay for the state's raiding of the Highway Trust Fund, the pot of money specifically earmarked to build urban loop roads in just about every major city in North Carolina. Trust Fund money built the first 29 miles of I-540 (from NC 55 to US 64 in Knightdale), but the piggy bank is pretty much empty now courtesy of lawmakers who used it to balance the state budget. I agree there 100%, but that's an issue to take up with the legislature, not NCDOT. They don't control the purse strings, they just have to go with whatever they're given...which ain't much lately.

But the alternative is way, way worse than paying $2 to bypass Apex. Estimates now indicate that if 540 isn't built as a toll road, it won't be built until 2030. That's another twenty-three years down the line, and you can't convince me that people sitting in traffic in 2007 on NC 55 (which still happens, even now that the road's widened all the way up to RTP) would accept that alternative to paying a toll on a faster road. God only knows how much traffic will be on NC 55 in 23 years even with 540 being built; if it isn't built, heaven help those poor commuters.

So yeah, tolls on 540 might not be fair, and they might not be right, but they're a darned bit better than enduring another quarter-century of backups on NC 55 as an alternative. Sometimes the right thing to do isn't the most popular, but I have a feeling that the outcry will be much greater if 540 isn't built and every road in western Wake County turns into a 24-hour-a-day parking lot.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Interstate 40 and the H-Bomb

Interstate 40 within California is entirely contained to San Bernandio County over a course of 155 miles from Interstate 15 in Barstow east to the Arizona State Line at the Colorado River.  Interstate 40 is aligned entirely in the Mojave Desert over the same general corridor established by US Route 66 and the National Old Trails Road.   Interstate 40 is known as the Needles Freeway and has an interesting backstory which included the prospect of the Bristol Mountains being excavated by way of nuclear blasts as part of Operation Carryall.   Part 1; the history of Interstate 40 in California The focus on this blog will be primarily centered around the construction of Interstate 40 ("I-40") within California.  That being said the corridor of automotive travel east of Barstow to the Arizona State Line was largely pioneered by the National Old Trails Road ("NOTR")   In April of 1912 the NOTR was organized with the goal of signing a trans-continental highway between Baltim

California State Route 232

This past month I drove the entirety of California State Route 232 in Ventura County. CA 232 is an approximately 4 miles State Highway aligned on Vineland Avenye which begins near Saticoy at CA 118 and traverses southwest to US Route 101 in Oxnard.  The alignment of CA 232 was first adopted into the State Highway System in 1933 as Legislative Route Number 154 according to CAhighways.org. CAhighways.org on LRN 154 As originally defined LRN 154 was aligned from LRN 9 (future CA 118) southwest to LRN 2/US 101 in El Rio.  This configuration of LRN 154 between CA 118/LRN 9 and US 101/LRN 2 can be seen on the 1935 California Division of Highways Map of Ventura County. 1935 Ventura County Highway Map According to CAhighways.org the route of LRN 154 was extended west from US 101/LRN 2 to US 101A/LRN 60 in 1951.  Unfortunately State Highway Maps do not show this extension due to it being extremely small. During the 1964 State Highway Renumbering LRN 154 was assigned CA 232.  Of n

California State Route 128

California State Route 128 is a 121 mile State Highway which spans from California State Route 1 at the mouth Navarro River eastward to Interstate 505 near Winters.  California State Route 128 is one of California's most underrated scenic State Highways which traverses; Mendocino County, Solano County, Napa County and Yolo County.  Presently California State Route 128 has 11 unconstructed miles which would connect it from Interstate 505 east to California State Route 113 in Davis.   Part 1; the history of the original California State Route 28 and California State Route 128 What became California State Route 128 ("CA 128") was announced in the   August 1934 California Highways & Public Works  as the original CA 28.    CA 28 in it's original definition was aligned from CA 1 near Albion east to US 40 near Davis.   CA 28 as originally defined was comprised of numerous Legislative Route Numbers ("LRN") which were adopted as follows: -  LRN 1  between McDona