Thursday, July 22, 2010

I'll Pull My Funding if You Pull Yours

As I stated in my previous post and now that I've had a little time to calm down; I am 100% in support of pulling all state funding from the Port Authority (and SEPTA for that matter) with the caveat that the state no longer maintain any roads or fund any new roads.  Counties and municipalities would be on the hook to maintain all existing roads and fund any new road construction or expansion, to include limited access highways without the help of state funds. 

It’s hard to hypothesize what this would be like because it is unprecedented.  It's even harder to imagine how it would be all funded; not a pretty scenario given our auto-centric society. 

The only real “case study” of this is E-470 in Eastern Colorado.  It’s a Public/Private limited access highway that extends from Meridian, CO southeast of Denver, past Denver International to Broomfield, CO, northeast of Denver.  It’s basically a half moon shaped highway which forms the eastern half of a beltway around Denver.  Its western half was built and is maintained by the State of Colorado. 

E470 is maintained and tolled by a private company and has a public board consisting of the municipalities that the road travels through.  They set toll rates and oversee the operation and finances of the E470 highway. 

As of 2009 the average toll is 31 cents per mile for a two axle vehicle.    The toll is higher if it is a tandem axle vehicle.  The road was built and financed through private bonds and cost approx. $ 1.23 Billion dollars or about $25,751,072.96 per mile ($1.2 billion/46.6 miles)

If we take that $.31 per mile and say we drive five miles back and forth (a total of 10) each day to work.  The total per day would be $3.10.  Driving the route 5 times a week would cost us $ 15.50.  Driving 50 weeks out of the year would cost $775. 

In our current system, a person could avoid tolls altogether by using a publicly funded road that may parallel this limited access highway.  However, if all roads were locally funded, avoiding this toll may not be possible.

Again, this is just a small example using available information.  However, if local municipalities had to pay for new road construction and road maintenance (including limited access) they would be hard pressed to fund those requirements.  Those requirements would make a system such as the E470 highway entirely possible on a larger scale.  In this case, that $775.00 could be and most likely would be MUCH higher. 

Even if a system like the E470 weren’t adopted on a wide scale, communities would have to garner the revenue somehow. In that case, it's likely that local governments would resort to the thing that everyone hates to begin with; taxes.

So, once again, anyone willing to trade privatized transit for privatized roads, I’m all for it.  That way everyone can finally see that no form of human transportation, be it automotive, rail, air, or bus is un-subsidized.  

1 comment:

onenightlemonadestand said...

Yes: "I am 100% in support of pulling all state funding from the Port Authority (and SEPTA for that matter) with the caveat that the state no longer maintain any roads or fund any new road".

But mostly I am also 100% in favor of 100% funded public transit. By any means necessary.