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

Yes, the color of your nearby fire hydrant matters...

...and here's why. You will find White, Red, Yellow and Violet colored fire hydrants pretty much everywhere.  But there's a reason for this - and it's because of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).  This association has issued guidelines for color coding standards for fire hydrants.  These color codes from the body of the hydrant, top of the hydrant, and in some municipalities the outlet caps are designed to allow fire fighters to know what type of system, water flow rate (Gallons Per Minute or GPM), and level of water pressure.  This guideline is known as NFPA 291 and is intended to be used universally throughout the United States. The NFPA guidelines are specific to the body and the top cap of the hydrant.  If a hydrant is WHITE or YELLOW - it means that it is connected to a public/municipal water system.  If a hydrant is RED - the hydrant is connected to a private system, typically a well.  These are most common in rural or unincorporated areas

Phase 1 of the California State Route 132 West Expressway (in the making since 1947)

On September 15, 2022, the Phase 1 of the California State Route 132 West Expressway opened in the city of Modesto from California State Route 99 west to North Dakota Avenue.  Phase 1 of the California State Route 132 West Expressway was built upon a corridor which was tentatively to designated to become the branching point for Interstate 5W in the 1947 concept of the Interstate Highway System.  The present California State Route 132 West Expressway corridor was adopted by the California Highway Commission on June 20, 1956.  Despite almost being rescinded during the 1970s the concept of the California State Route 132 West Expressway corridor lingered on for over half a century and became likely the oldest undeveloped right-of-way owned by California Transportation Commission.  Pictured above is the planned California State Route 132 freeway west of US Route 99 in Modesto as featured in the May/June 1962 California Highways & Public Works.   The history of the California State Route

Aptos Creek Road to the Loma Prieta ghost town site

Aptos Creek Road is a roadway in Santa Cruz County, California which connects the community of Aptos north to The Forest of Nisene Marks State Parks.  Aptos Creek Road north of Aptos is largely unpaved and is where the town site of Loma Prieta can be located.  Loma Prieta was a sawmill community which operated from 1883-1923 and reached a peak population of approximately three hundred.  Loma Prieta included a railroad which is now occupied by Aptos Creek Road along with a spur to Bridge Creek which now the Loma Prieta Grade Trail.  The site of the Loma Prieta Mill and company town burned in 1942.   Part 1; the history of Aptos Creek Road and the Loma Prieta town site Modern Aptos traces its origin to Mexican Rancho Aptos.  Rancho Aptos was granted by the Mexican Government in 1833 Rafael Castro.  Rancho Aptos took its name from Aptos Creek which coursed through from the Santa Cruz Mountains to Monterey Bay.  Castro initially used Rancho Aptos to raise cattle for their hides.  Following