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540 tolls not 'your grandfather's toll road'

Posted May 12, 2008

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— State transportation planners got their first look at how a new no-stop toll system could work when the next extension of N.C. Highway 540 opens.

"This is not your grandfather's toll road," Jim Eden, chief operating officer of the North Carolina Turnpike Authority, said Monday. "We're really trying to make this convenient for the customer." (View an animation of how the new toll roads would work.)

Last November, the Turnpike Authority unanimously voted to go to a cashless system that would give commuters several options to pay without them having to stop along the future Triangle Expressway.

Among those choices, at approximately 14 cents a mile, would be a vehicle transponder that infrared technology at the toll area detects. A computer system would then deduct money from a commuter's prepaid account.

Transponders would cost $8 to $20 and would be available online, at stores or area kiosks.

Another option, at about 28 cents a mile, would be for drivers to register their license plates and get billed accordingly when a video camera records their car's passage.

If a vehicle is not registered, motorists would receive a mailed invoice. The cost would be closer to 42 cents per mile.

"The camera systems, generally, we're used to delivering are 99.6 and higher of usable license plates of the vehicle, so you just don't miss it," said Scot Goettsch of Jai Inc., one of nine vendors demonstrating the latest toll technologies.

It's still not clear, however, when the tolls would be in place.

The General Assembly must approve gap funding for about $20 million a year. That could happen in the upcoming legislative session. If so, construction on the first stretch could begin this summer and could be open by December 2010.

If not, the project could be delayed for several more years because of environmental permits, the Turnpike Authority said. Construction costs would be an estimated $60 million more a year because of rising prices.

The cost of the entire Triangle Expressway is an estimated $1 billion. Additional funding would come from the tolls and would take about 40 years for the project to be paid off.


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  • TheAdmiral May 13, 2008

    I don't care about any of that. Geeker said that he was going to pull money out of the 540 deal if he didn't get his way and then he lied about it in the Ask the Geek anything section in WRAL.

    The fact of the matter is that NCDOT keeps getting ripped off because all of the money the DMV nails us to the cross for with Registrations (and they think that if you drive a car your a cash cow), 30 cents per gallon gas tax, and other things they outrageously charge for goes right into Weasleys General fund to give to companies like Dell.

  • WRALSUCKS May 13, 2008

    What a TYPICAL government RIP OFF!

  • Historian snuck back in May 13, 2008

    I thought that the state tax was voted in years ago for the sole purpose of road construction. And was supposed to only be temporary, at least that is how they talked the constituents into to voting for it. It appears the political crooks (aka big fat liars) are at it again.

  • SMR May 13, 2008


    Found this site while searching for info on it. Has a link to all email addresses for our state legislators and senators to send your thoughts about the subject.

    Also online petition.

    Great job!!!! Together we can let our "public servants" (choke choke) know how we feel!!!

  • SMR May 13, 2008

    Looks like according to this, if a car from out of town or one that doesn't have a tracking device will get an invoice. So more government workers to print out and send invoices, if a car only travels 2 miles on the road, we are sending them an invoice for $.28? Government hard at work...yet again! Yahoooo! Dang we are smart here in NC aren't we????

  • SheriffTruman May 13, 2008

    Sorry, tunrpike420, I meant to exclude you from my criticism but the phone rang and I forgot to add that to my rant. Other than you, most have been silent on this. Without a major public outcry, it will happen. In fact, I would say it is pretty much too late by now and it is going to happen, regardless.

  • jamesjmoore999 May 13, 2008

    Double taxation is unconstiutional. The State Legislature basically passed a law that is federally illegal. NCDOT and the Turnpike Auth have grandiose ideas when they are spending YOUR $. The KS Turnpike Auth is a model for success.

    Also, adding in taxpayers $ to help support a toll road smacks of double taxation. Check out the State Reps that voted for this and vote them out of office.

  • turnpike420 May 13, 2008

    theonefornow - double taxing isn't exactly the correct term, but yes, if you currently drive the 4.5 miles of NC 540 that is open now, from I-40 south to NC 55 in RTP, our tax dollars and other funding PAID FOR that stretch of road. The NC Legislature passed Senate Bill 1381 to *specifically* allow the NCTA to go back and toll AN ALREADY EXISTING ROAD. So yes, if tolling goes forward, you will be paying for a chunk of the project TWICE.


  • theonefornow May 13, 2008

    Oh god, they are double taxing us, those evil politicians. I'm more concerned with the NC DOT wasting the money given for projects than I am in the allocation. There is a reason this area is one of the best places to live in the country. Schools are great, housing is cheap. Just give it another 10 years and no Western Loop and the growth of Holly Springs, Fuquay, and Apex will be choked and stalled.

  • misschris234 May 13, 2008

    Maybe I'm just not getting it, but this system seems like it is going to be a lot of trouble, and expensive just in the maintenance/administration/collection side of things. If you are someone from out of town and get a notice in your mailbox for $4, are you really going to pay it? Just doesn't seem like something easy to administer. I also think that the people it will truly affect, have every right to be upset. Not only are gas prices eating into everyone's pockets, but now people are going to have to spend $4 extra dollars a day, $80 extra a month, just to get to work? Something about all of this doesn't sit well with me. It won't affect me much, but it will affect my fellow citizens, I just don't see myself supporting this, but I need to do more research.