Local News

Some Argue Toll Roads Could Be Cheaper In Long Run

Posted August 16, 2005

— With no relief in sight at gas stations, state transportation officials are trying to sell you on the idea of toll roads, saying it could save you time and gas money.

North Carolina Turnpike Authority Director David Joyner acknowledges that the success of toll roads depends on how much drivers want it.

"Toll roads are a business and the customers are the traveling public, and if they don't want to pay, they are not going to," Joyner said.

The Turnpike Authority is looking at several projects throughout the state, including one in Durham called the Triangle Parkway. Transportation officials say for now the locations are only ideas and, if approved, could take years before construction even starts.

If transportation officials are going to win the hearts and minds of the public, their biggest obstacle may be at the gas pump. With drivers already paying record prices, dropping more money in a toll both may not seem like a money-saving investment.

Yolanda Davis said she spent several dollars a day on toll roads in New Jersey and does not want to even think about doing that in her new home.

"I could see it if there was a decrease in gas, but no, we're paying enough in gas," Davis said.

Still, others said they would be willing to pay for a short-cut if it only cost some pocket change.

"It's really congested in the morning, so if you got a short-cut for 50 cents more, I'll take it," motorist Tanga Matma said.

Transportation officials said that motorists will have a choice. They do not want to force people to take a toll road. For every toll road they build, they plan to make sure there is an alternate road that is free.

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