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  #21  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2019, 9:05 PM
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PhilliesPhan PhilliesPhan is offline
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Absolutely. Not only should they be expanded, but some form of a congestion tax should be implemented in every major metropolitan area. Motorists love to complain about public transportation, yet they receive the largest subsidies of them all. The amount of money that they pay in gas taxes does NOT cover the true cost of their infrastructure. This country should be investing a larger amount of money in public transportation, especially when major metropolitan areas headed by cities generate most of the revenue within this nation. As a Philly resident who doesn't own a car, why should what I pay in taxes subsidize a motorist in rural Susquehanna County?

I would love to see urban highways demolished, road diets applied to major thoroughfares in urban centers, the federal gas tax significantly hiked, the elimination of parking minimums and free parking, and red light cameras at every intersection, among other things. Live in an area that requires a car to get around? Too bad, that's what happens when you move to an auto-dependent suburb. The days of subsidies for places like that should end. Park your two-ton death machine in your shitty suburb and take the train into the city.
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  #22  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2019, 9:23 PM
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chicagoland has had toll roads for as long as i can remember.

they seem to work just fine, especially now with open road tolling, so i'm fully in favor of them.
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  #23  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2019, 9:33 PM
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It's interesting the opinions of people on here, and I assume it's because of where we live in the US.

I personally don't mind paying gas taxes/car registration fees that help pay for transportation projects (road construction/maintenance as well as public transit) throughout California; so what if my gas taxes pay for road work up in Humboldt County? The people there are fellow Californians.

Just like even though I don't have any children and never will, I don't mind paying taxes that help support public schools and higher education. Why would I want to surround myself with uneducated kids, and not support higher education for fellow Californians?
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  #24  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2019, 9:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Encolpius View Post
And you imagine that driving isn't subsidized? Actually, in percentage terms the subsidy is about the same:
Is it really a subsidy when the general population overwhelmingly gets around by car? So really, a driver that only pays for (say) 60% of the cost of roads through direct use charges, will pay the rest out of their sales, property and income taxes. The only subsidization that goes on would be from rich drivers to poor drivers. This is unlike transit, where only a small group of users use it, even though it too is paid for by the general population (who rarely use transit).

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In dollar terms, of course, in North America we spend billions more on roads than transit.
Because roads carry 10-20x more people and infinitely more goods. But what happens when you normalize it? Calgary has a remarkably successful LRT system for its population, but also a good road network that allows most people to get around pretty easily. It's costs the City far less for a trip taken by car than a trip taken by transit. Even with decent fare recovery, the difference is 10X.



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Besides, what's the alternative to transit? Building more roads? Expanding our highways to twenty lanes? As we've learned from experience, that doesn't reduce congestion
But it does increases trips per day and trips at peak hour. Reasons why cars and road have led to unprecedented mobility for the average person in the developed world.
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  #25  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2019, 12:12 AM
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I'm fine with toll roads, and expanding them. Tolls are user fees, which are fair and more direct than general taxes. With gasoline taxes covering roads, I am paying for roads that I may not be using. I'm paying to maintain a road that I did not contribute any wear and tear to. But when I pay a toll, I am using the road, so I am effectively paying for the wear and tear that I've caused.

To anyone that says tolls are worse or more regressive than gasoline taxes, I would say that gasoline taxes could be worse for all, especially the poor. If someone poor owns a car, they pay that tax any time they drive, even if it's down the street to work or to the supermarket. But with tolls, someone poor only pays that tax when they cross that bridge or use that expressway. With tolls, poor people have options: they can use free surface streets instead of the tolled expressway, and save money and pay with their time (instead of paying for the convenience of saving time, like buying milk at a corner drugstore instead of a supermarket farther away). Or, they can drive around the bridge and find a free bridge. Or, they can take public transportation across. Someone poor can't avoid the gasoline tax if they still need to drive, though.
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  #26  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2019, 3:34 AM
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Originally Posted by accord1999 View Post
Is it really a subsidy when the general population overwhelmingly gets around by car? So really, a driver that only pays for (say) 60% of the cost of roads through direct use charges, will pay the rest out of their sales, property and income taxes. The only subsidization that goes on would be from rich drivers to poor drivers. This is unlike transit, where only a small group of users use it, even though it too is paid for by the general population (who rarely use transit).


Because roads carry 10-20x more people and infinitely more goods. But what happens when you normalize it? Calgary has a remarkably successful LRT system for its population, but also a good road network that allows most people to get around pretty easily. It's costs the City far less for a trip taken by car than a trip taken by transit. Even with decent fare recovery, the difference is 10X.




But it does increases trips per day and trips at peak hour. Reasons why cars and road have led to unprecedented mobility for the average person in the developed world.
Does that include provincially/nationally funded roads? (I have no idea how this works in Canada). I find it hard to believe that Calgary spends more on transit than road construction/maintenance. Does Calgary have parking minimums?
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  #27  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2019, 5:44 AM
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Does that include provincially/nationally funded roads? (I have no idea how this works in Canada).
The major N-S highway and the mostly complete ring road are handled by the province. But the N-S highway (Deerfoot Trail) maintenance is <C$20M/year. the ring road will probably be in the $20-$40M range because of its greater length.

https://ml-eu.globenewswire.com/Reso...d-40cd5f93b130

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Does Calgary have parking minimums?
In Downtown, they've been enforcing a limit for new office towers for awhile (1 stall per 140m2 of gross useable floor area); that plus high parking rates have been noted as reasons for the high ridership of the LRT system. I'm not sure for areas outside of Downtown.
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  #28  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2019, 9:49 AM
Encolpius Encolpius is offline
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^ I'm not very surprised to see that Calgary spends twice operating transit what it spends maintaining roads. Roads can carry tens of thousands of vehicles daily for years without requiring maintenance, whereas every trip on public transport requires drivers, mechanics, fuel, insurance, &c. Most of those same costs exist with private transport, too (it isn't magically 10x cheaper to drive a car), but they won't show up in the roads budget. The interesting thing about those Calgary statistics is the extent of subsidy: transit users are charged nearly 50% of the cost of the service, whereas road users pay less than 15%.

Is it really a subsidy? Yes. And subsidizing a behavior encourages that behavior: people in Calgary are encouraged to drive more and take transit less than they would if they paid the full costs of roads, parking, sprawl, pollution, and so on. And that's the opposite of what government should do. Because subsidizing roads and underfunding transit doesn't really do drivers any favors (after all, most of the cost of driving isn't in maintaining the roads themselves; it's really much cheaper to travel by other modes, but road subsidy leads to sprawl, which makes every other mode of travel less viable).

Unprecedented mobility for the average person in the developed world? Yes and no. I'll admit, I'm considering buying a car -- not to get around London, but to take road trips to Cornwall and Dorset and the Peak District and France. Road trips are amazing. If I lived in Calgary I'd spend every weekend in Banff.

But within our cities, no, we don't have unprecedented mobility. Compared to the streetcar era? Are you kidding? Ask people in LA, the most road-dominated city in North America, who have the longest commutes in the country. Cars are fantastic for taking you to the middle of nowhere, but they've done untold damage to our cities and we need to stop subsidizing roads so that we can begin repairing it.

Last edited by Encolpius; Jul 18, 2019 at 10:47 AM.
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  #29  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2019, 11:49 AM
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Tolls should be expanded.

However, I think there should *always* be a way to get somewhere without a toll. In Texas there seems to always be a service road on the sides of tolls roads. This gives people the option to go the same way but much slower. So be it.

Tollways that are priced depending on traffic(Cadillac highways) are awesome. People always complain that only the rich are able to escape traffic and thats true. However, it frees up more room on the highway for people who don't or can't afford the toll.

All in all, in a place like DC(where I just spent 3 hours fighting traffic going from Dulles to Fredricksburg) tolls help move people around while also paying for the infrastructure. It can also encourage people to take transit, which is always good.
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  #30  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2019, 12:33 PM
Encolpius Encolpius is offline
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^ This is precisely what I object to. Imagine that drivers have an alternative of two, moderately congested routes to get between Point A and Point B. You toll them both. Fine. I see some disadvantages to this compared to other revenue sources, but there are certainly advantages as well: you can adjust the toll to discourage driving at rush hour (maybe congestion decreases slightly), and perhaps some drivers will be incentivized to carpool or take public transit.

But suppose you toll only one of the routes. Put the revenue out of your mind for a moment and look at the other effects of this. Imagine the toll is perfectly calibrated so that it only displaces a relatively small amount of traffic from the tolled road to the freeway at peak commuting times: by removing even this small quantity of cars from a moderately congested road, suddenly traffic begins flowing much more smoothly! That's the way traffic works. The minority of drivers who are willing and able to pay for it now have a better commute, because their money insulates them from the consequences of the city's poor planning decisions.

But the majority of drivers? Their commute just became much worse. Adding even a small quantity of additional traffic to an already congested route now makes the congestion appalling. There is suddenly political pressure to expand the freeway, to build a new bypass. That's the way politics works. The city will build more roads to appease these drivers (since they're the majority), cutting the budget for public transit. The expanded capacity will induce further sprawl, and within a few more years the roads will be just as congested as before.

Tolling only some roads makes poorer use of our existing road capacity than tolling all or none of them. It exacerbates the gap between haves and have-nots, increases the political divide, and makes things worse for the majority. Coddling the rich certainly doesn't 'free up more room' for the rest of us; it makes our lives harder and our cities more congested, polluted and dysfunctional.
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  #31  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2019, 1:18 PM
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Originally Posted by sopas ej View Post
That'll just give us really wide city streets with really bad traffic congestion.
I don't agree. We waste a lot of space for parallel parked vehicles in our cities. It should open up travel lanes and ease congestion in our most congested regions. If everything is automated, there will be a fraction of accidents as well.
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  #32  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2019, 5:39 PM
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The cost of roads doesn’t include the cost of buying a car, insuring it, filling it with gas, and fixing it. Without a car a road is not useful, cars must be counted as part of the whole system.

The cost of transit includes the operation of the vehicles and the whole deal. The user boards and that’s it.

That chart is Apples to oranges.

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To anyone that says tolls are worse or more regressive than gasoline taxes, I would say that gasoline taxes could be worse for all, especially the poor. If someone poor owns a car, they pay that tax any time they drive, even if it's down the street to work or to the supermarket. But with tolls, someone poor only pays that tax when they cross that bridge or use that expressway.
1. Who said gas taxes were being repealed?
2. If gas taxes didn’t exist tolls would be higher.
3. Commutes are not a choice. People live and work where the market sorts them. You take a job where you get it and rent or buy a house you can afford it. I doubt consumer preference means much at a metro area level of focus.

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suppose you toll only one of the routes. Put the revenue out of your mind for a moment and look at the other effects of this. Imagine the toll is perfectly calibrated so that it only displaces a relatively small amount of traffic from the tolled road to the freeway at peak commuting times: by removing even this small quantity of cars from a moderately congested road, suddenly traffic begins flowing much more smoothly! That's the way traffic works. The minority of drivers who are willing and able to pay for it now have a better commute, because their money insulates them from the consequences of the city's poor planning decisions.

But the majority of drivers? Their commute just became much worse. Adding even a small quantity of additional traffic to an already congested route now makes the congestion appalling. There is suddenly political pressure to expand the freeway, to build a new bypass. That's the way politics works. The city will build more roads to appease these drivers (since they're the majority), cutting the budget for public transit. The expanded capacity will induce further sprawl, and within a few more years the roads will be just as congested as before.]
This is interesting and something I hadn’t thought of. Dynamic pricing results in a zero s game rich get richer type outcome because few trips are truly nonessential and commute times not as flexible as economists probably assume. Traffic must go somewhere and alternative routes do not contain infinite capacity.

Last edited by llamaorama; Jul 18, 2019 at 5:55 PM.
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  #33  
Old Posted Jul 20, 2019, 10:35 AM
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Pretty much every S (provincial) and G (national) expressway in China is a toll road (the only exception that I can think of is the S20 Outer Ring Expressway here in Shanghai, which does not have a toll) so I'm used to it. I don't think there's a problem with road tolls, though the Chinese implementation of toll plazas strikes me as being extremely inefficient, where even cars with ETC (electronic toll payment) have to slow to 20km/h to pass through the toll gates, and often get stuck in the traffic jams that form at very busy toll gates in the system. Other countries do electronic tolls SO much better than China does.
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  #34  
Old Posted Jul 20, 2019, 6:20 PM
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My wife and i spend at least $80-$100 on tolls a month as it is...so no. I'm guessing the 'yeses' here rarely use toll roads. If anything, what they should do is streamline the toll roads under one system or have them read each others' transponders. I have a Houston EZ tag (that I cannot use in Dallas or Austin), a NH EZ Pass for all the northeastern states and a Florida Sunpass.
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  #35  
Old Posted Jul 20, 2019, 7:06 PM
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Originally Posted by JManc View Post
My wife and i spend at least $80-$100 on tolls a month as it is...so no. I'm guessing the 'yeses' here rarely use toll roads. If anything, what they should do is streamline the toll roads under one system or have them read each others' transponders. I have a Houston EZ tag (that I cannot use in Dallas or Austin), a NH EZ Pass for all the northeastern states and a Florida Sunpass.
Definitely agree on a uniform transponder (I-Pass and ez-pass are already compatible I think). Should also have a uniform national transit card. $80-100 a month sounds like a lot. My entire monthly transportation budget is about that (CTA pass is $100 but it's pretax so really only like $80 or so).
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Last edited by SIGSEGV; Jul 21, 2019 at 12:41 AM.
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  #36  
Old Posted Jul 20, 2019, 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by JManc View Post
My wife and i spend at least $80-$100 on tolls a month as it is...so no. I'm guessing the 'yeses' here rarely use toll roads. If anything, what they should do is streamline the toll roads under one system or have them read each others' transponders. I have a Houston EZ tag (that I cannot use in Dallas or Austin), a NH EZ Pass for all the northeastern states and a Florida Sunpass.
TxTag passes are good on all Texas toll roads. And in Austin at least, they give a 10% discount over the pay by mail option.

TxTags are also good on Oklahoma and Kansas toll roads if for some ungodly reason you find yourself in a position to use one of those roads.
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  #37  
Old Posted Jul 21, 2019, 12:02 AM
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I think tolls are necessary. The whole thing with the Interstate Highway System, Autobahn, Autostrada, Autopista, etc... is that they're meant to be "controlled access", meaning that access points are limited to major interchanges to prevent them from becoming common roadways. That concept/theory/method no longer functions as it should due to changes in communting habits, suburbanization, or grose abuse of the "controlled access" theory by states using them for purposes of encouraging suburbanization and increasing access to nowhere-lands all across major metro areas.

I think tolling is highly appropriate for purposes for regulating traffic volume on shortcut/express roads that have an alternative, yet congested, road generally leading along the same general route. I also support tolling for public-private ventures to build large-scale, new infrastructure (such as the new Mobile River and Bay Bridge I mentioned above). I do not like the idea of using tolls explicitely discourage use of a road, but in certain cases it is necessary. For example, without tolling the Wallace Tunnel alongside the new Mobile River and Bay Bridge, (I'm just pulling #s out of my ass here) you'd have 80%-90% of commuters taking the tunnel to cross the Mobile River, not at all solving the present problem of dangerously high traffic congestion along I-10.

In the end, I don't at all agree with tolling for tolling's sake. If that money is used solely for maintenance and safety work on the tolled road, I think that is appropriate. I somewhat have an issue with tolling situations that you see in Orlando, though. I realize that a much of the tolls are charged to maintain and expand their controll access highway system, and I realize that the city has plenty of traffic and capacity issues, but it really just seems like another example of induced demand...
I live this every day. I appreciate that I am able to pay 3 dollars to bypass 35 minutes of traffic by taking the NJ turnpike over 295. Work in NYC area but live in CC Philly. Toll roads definitely regulate traffic.When I go to work at 4:30 in the morning I take the free roads and it is quicker. When I come home from work at 5:30 in rush hour traffic I pay the 3 bucks to be able to take the NJ turnpike and it saves me atleast 30 minutes on my commute home.
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