As Triangle toll road revenue beats expectation, prices still rise

Posted January 5

When the first section of the Triangle Expressway opened in 2011, it was the state's first toll road. It now runs from RTP all the way through western Wake County, connecting with Holly Springs.

Five years after the Triangle's first toll road opened, the state has said it's a big success.

DOT spokesman Steve Abbott said tens of thousands of people use it each weekday, as traffic and revenue grow every year.

“It's been pretty steady growth as people get used to it,” Abbott said. “(Prices) are going up, because costs go up.”

Like many RTP workers, Michael Bridges said he uses the Triangle Expressway toll road every workday. One time, he tried taking the free roads home.

“I sat there an extra 20 minutes or so. I decided from then on, I'd just take the tolls,” he said.

Many drivers are willing to pay for a quicker commute.

Over the past four years, the DOT projected the Triangle Expressway would bring in about $77 million, while the actual revenue resulted in $95 million dollars. With this data, drivers will pay 3.5 percent more this year.

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Abbott said the annual hikes pay back the bonds sold to fund the $1 billion road. It's also helping to pay for two new interchanges, one that will opens later this year between Holly Springs and Apex. One between U-S 1 and the NC-55 Bypass in Holly Springs should open in the coming months. Another interchange at Morrisville Parkway will open in 2019.

Bridges says he doesn't like paying more, but he can't wait in rush hour traffic.

“I have a child in daycare, so I have to be at his daycare by 5:30, so I have to be on the tolls,” Bridges said.

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  • Mike Snyder Jan 6, 2017
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    First, toll roads DO go away. The Richmond VA area along I95 is an example. There were 3 toll plazas along there for years that, after the road was paid for, went away. The dollars, cents, and forecasted payoff for the toll section of I540 don't add up. As a member of the Morrisville Town Council at the time this toll road was being built, I was publicly and adamantly against it, particularly since the section between Hwy54 and Hwy55 were already appropriated and paid for. Why did the northern section get a free pass, but the southern section did not? Who was fighting for the people....not the head of the NCDOT at the time because he also was the head of the NC Toll Authority. Conflict of interest? When the toll road was being "sold" to us, the forecast was that it would be paid off and the toll would go away in about 2039. Now, it's 2044 even though revenue is above that forecast? That surplus should be used to pay it off early. New exit needed, build it when the state can pay.

  • Clayton Dent Jan 6, 2017
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    Toll roads never go away and they never stop raising prices. It's a permanent double tax.

  • Larry Price Jan 6, 2017
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Write our future president about this. Sticking it to the elitist; Trump loves this type of stuff.

  • Chad Overton Jan 5, 2017
    user avatar

    Fred - good luck rolling a section of the road that is at a complete standstill every morning and afternoon. At least on the southern section you can get somewhere quicker.

  • Derral VanLoon Jan 5, 2017
    user avatar

    “(Prices) are going up, because costs go up.”
    Then I suppose wages should be going up also, since costs are going up.

  • Fred Holt Jan 5, 2017
    user avatar

    Toll the whole fracking road. Southern Wake subsidizing the road and the northern half should not stand. I don't care that the current statute says that can't happen - that's why we have lawmakers. Maybe if all shared in the burden would the outstanding revenue mean that tolls don't keep rising.

  • Jason Galarneau Jan 5, 2017
    user avatar

    Hint........The toll plazas will NEVER taken down..They're too nice.

  • Andy Jackson Jan 5, 2017
    user avatar

    .....and how long are the tolls going to be charged for this stretch of highway? Forever????

  • Andy Jackson Jan 5, 2017
    user avatar

    Can you say GREED? Yes, indeed, you plan for incremental increases "IF" and only "IF" they are needed. You don't implement increased fees if the actual revenues Exceed projections by such a substantial this case 18 million. This is a total rip off....and the State Auditor should be reviewing how the funding for these tolls was set up originally and make sound recommendations for corrections to Revenue formulas used!