Sunday, August 30, 2009

Surveying the Messes

A friend saw the link to the CRC's Tolling Survey and was motivated to share his feelings:

1. Bridge Expansion is Assumed to be a Settled Decision

The existence of a toll is taken for granted by the entire survey. The reality that expanding the bridge, as well as applying a bridge toll, are matters that are still in question is never made plain. Nowhere does the survey ask whether the person being surveyed supports or does not support a bridge toll.

2. Variable-Rate Tolling May Not Serve the Traveler

Variable-rate tolling may be used to create the illusion of lowering costs for the traveler, while actually increasing profits for toll collectors. The base toll rate may be set at a level that guarantees a profit during off-peak hours, and an excess of profit during peak hours. It can become a means to collect more money at the times when people find it most necessary to cross the bridge.

Variable-rate tolling also discriminates against people who cannot vary their travel schedules (which is most people who work set hours).

3. Possible Implications of Electronic Tolling

Electronic tolling. Does that mean electronic enforcement and fining through the use of photographic traffic enforcement technology?

More cameras monitoring citizen activity?

4. Inaccurate/Potentially Misleading Information

Question 12 states:

“Tolling both the I-5 and I-205 bridges over the Columbia River, instead of tolling just the I-5 Columbia River bridge, could result in lower toll rates, more traffic improvements, and less traffic congestion on both the I-5 and I-205 highways. Knowing this, how supportive of tolling both the I-5 and I-205 bridges are you?”

If the tolling is split between the two bridges so that the cost of an individual toll is lowered, how will this result in more traffic improvements? The only way there could be more traffic improvements is if the original toll fee being split were inflated. For example, if a toll on the I-5 bridge were originally $4, and that amount was shared by the I-205 bridge, then each bridge would then have a toll of $2. The net result would be the identical $4. However, if the idea is only to create the illusion of a reduced toll fee, while making the net income from both bridges $5 or $6, then of course there would be more profits generated for more traffic “improvements.”

As for the claim that tolls on both bridges will create less traffic congestion, I see no logical correlation between the two factors.

1 comment:

Daniel Ronan said...

Can you email me? I am interested in this project and would like to know more. Grand and MLK is a couplet on the inner east side. (Read this as me not being a bot.)


djronan at gmail