Austin Toll Party
The City of Austin independent study of an already approved toll road plan in Central Texas will likely be expanded to include evaluation of using managed lanes rather than full-fledged tollways.
Months ago, Council Members Brewster McCracken, Raul Alvarez and the Austin Toll Party worked hard to get the original independent study approved by Austin City Council after CAMPO failed to approve the study.
Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization board (CAMPO) voted this past Monday to finally endorsed the study. That vote is expected to pave the way for the additional dollars needed to expand the original study. The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority and Travis County and Williamson County commissioners courts are considering kicking in all or most of the additional $200,000 the expanded study will require. The expanded study may save Central Texas families HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of dollars a year in tolls as well as valuable time on the roads we've already paid for.
Charles River Associates, a Boston company, has already begun the study. Most of the extra cost will go for computer modeling of the costs and performance of putting managed lanes -- typically free for carpools and buses with tolls for single-occupant vehicles -- on major Central Texas highways. Computer modeling assimilates a wide variety of data and then forecasts the future efficiency of a transportation plan.
"If done properly, along with real public input, this expanded study could be a great victory for all Central Texans, easily saving our families hundreds of millions of dollars every year by not having to pay a toll for freeways we've already paid for. " said Sal Costello, founder of AustinTollParty.com
Managed lanes offer incentives to rideshare through improved access for buses or HOVs. Generally buses, trucks and carpools ride free, while vehicles pay a toll. The key to successfully operating managed lanes is the ability to alter the operations of the lanes in ways that keep traffic flowing. This strategy provides flexibility, not only in the day-to-day operations of the lanes, but in situations where isolated incidents such as a major accident call for the lanes to be open to more or different user groups.
The independent study promises to include televised public hearings, where the public will be part of the process. A schedule of the public hearings is expected to be released in July.
The 9 to 12 month expanded study may prove to be the "death knell" to the double taxation of Central Texans.
CONTACT: Sal Costello, Founder of AustinTollParty.com - 288-9991
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