May 2, 2005

Roads and Taxes

I had written about a galling increase in the price of WA State Gasoline here -- people in all of WA State are being asked to foot the bill for the replacement of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. These funds are being collected with a new tax on Gasoline. Our current governor pushed for this even though during her campaign, she said that she opposed new Gas Taxes. I had also referenced two other projects that are being funded through tolls on that part of the project (Hood Canal Bridge and the I-5 Bridge near Vancouver/Portland) Over at Truck and Barter, Kevin writes about another example with a perfect solution:
Private Roads in Northern VA
Well, I never thought I'd see this:

Construction of the first major expansion of the Capital Beltway in a generation could start as soon as next year, Virginia transportation officials said yesterday after signing a deal with two private firms to build toll lanes for a speedier ride on 14 miles of the chronically clogged highway.

The deal calls for adding two lanes in each direction of the Beltway, separated from other traffic... The high-occupancy toll -- or HOT -- lanes would be free for vehicles containing three or more people; other drivers would pay to use them. To keep the lanes from clogging, tolls would increase with the amount of traffic.

The state would not have to pay anything for the new lanes. The private companies would invest the entire $900 million cost of the project in exchange for all or part of the toll revenue...

Fluor Enterprises Inc. and Transurban Group will pay to build the lanes, which could open in 2010.
Of course the details might change, though not the lack of government money. It's a great day for federal and state taxpayers, as well as future DC beltway drivers.
Emphasis mine -- the sliding fee is brilliant. If you do not like it, leave for work a little earlier or find two other people to carpool with you and then you do not have to pay anything. Looks like win/win to me. Posted by DaveH at May 2, 2005 11:13 PM
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