Lack of State Money No Barrier to Toll Road Planning

Posted October 17, 2007

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— Even without state funding, officials continue to plan for toll roads in North Carolina.

"We're hopeful that we'll get some money in the short session of the General Assembly in the spring," said David Joyner, executive director of the North Carolina Turnpike Authority. "This state and every other state is suffering financially. We don't have the financing needed to build these very expensive (highway) projects, and so tolling can help in very strategic areas."

The agency is considering several highway projects statewide as possible toll roads, including the Triangle Expressway, which would link the Durham Freeway and Interstate 40 with N.C. Highways 540 and 55 south of Apex.

The state Senate two months ago put the brakes on $20 million in funding for the Turnpike Authority. But officials said they have received offers from 14 private contractors to build toll roads and might continue with a public-private plan if state money doesn't come through.

"Not having the funding, the biggest impact is not knowing what project is going to go live first," said James Eden, chief operating officer of the Turnpike Authority.

Meanwhile, a company that operates electronic toll collections across the Northeast expects tolls roads to open in North Carolina eventually and wants the state's business.

E-ZPass operates in 10 states from Maine to Virginia and in Indiana and Illinois. The company uses transponders inside vehicles to record when they pass through toll plazas and deducts money from accounts that pass-holders have set up.

"We think there's a natural connection between North Carolina and the traveling public in the Northeast," said E-ZPass Executive Director James Crawford said. "It is a way to quickly pay your tolls without having to fumble for any change, without having to wait in a long queue."


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  • mtadish Oct 18, 2007

    I think it's past time that local government has to be held accountable for every tax dollar spent. WRAL should look into what our money's being spent on.

  • Capt Mercury Oct 18, 2007

    One thing that I recently learned about the proposed Triangle Expressway that you don't see or hear in the news is that the NC DOT is planning to ELIMINATE the spur road from the Durham Freeway to Alexander Drive. That's right, the NC DOT is REMOVING a road that many people use every day to get into RTP.

    LET ME REPEAT THAT!!! The NC DOT wants to REMOVE a heavily-used entrance into RTP. This makes the screwed-up exit from I-540 to I-40 westbound look like a good idea!!!

    Where do we get these NC DOT officials?

  • iamforjustice Oct 18, 2007

    All we need is a transit system. I would love to take a train to work. It would work here just fine.

  • ranquick Oct 18, 2007

    I agree, we pay more in Gas Tax than all but one other state. The Public needs to demand a accutal amount of money the State has. I know thatother state have better road system with camers and the pay less Tax. The Governor and the DOT should to know we have the woarst roads and we have one of the highest Tax. I sau NO NO NO to toll roads. What Dot needs to do and I said this before, cut back on vehicle and the use of fuel, Tome after time I send DOT people drive vehicles back and forth to work. I seen state vehilces being used for personal business. It is time to look at new personal in the DOT

  • Mungo Oct 18, 2007

    I am mad and I hope every taxpayer out there gets mad.

    We have the second highest gas tax in the US? And we don't have money? Why isn't anyone asking the politicians *WHY* we don't have money? Where is our State Auditor on this one? Not only do we need new roads, but we NEED to repair the ones we have. I see the front end alignment I have to get every three months as a tax too. Too much building and not enough infrastructure.
    It is unjust that the first section of 540 is a freeway and the "Triangle Expressway" portion is slated to be a toll road.

    I will not support our government's misappropriation of funds, whether "legal" or not, by driving on toll roads. I have a GPS, and the roads already exist to carry me where I need to be.

    My new voting policy? I'm never again voting for an incumbent. They've had the ball long enough already and have failed to make improvements.

    BTW - WRAL and fellow taxpayers - it's not the "States" money - IT'S OURS!

    Good link (first comment)

  • jon2four Oct 18, 2007

    With the coming of alternative fuels and electric powered cars toll road will become the norm. If you do not pay taxes at the pump you pay before you get on the road.This is the main reason electric cars are so few on our roads today,except for toll roads how do you fund road projects for them.

  • lynddsy Oct 18, 2007

    this is so wrong. the state says it has money and has been yelling there's no money for schools and other much needed programs. everyone can try to not use these toll roads but, my guess is they will make sure you will have no other choice.

  • whatelseisnew Oct 17, 2007

    The best way to say no to these tolls is to throw out a bunch of these bums in the next election. Find out where your representatives stand on these tolls. Let them know if they are in favor of the tolls you will be in favor of replacing said person at the next election. They keep stealing "yes it is stealing" too me when you take money for an express purpose and spend it on something else. I for one will not use any road on which they stick a toll. What a stick in the eye; these dummies what to take taxpayer money to build a road and then tax you again to use it.

  • IfByWhiskey-a-go-go Oct 17, 2007

    Folks, follow the link provided by Eric Blair. Thank you Eric.

    I have long felt that the state and federal governments are flush with cash, and have plenty of money, while at the same time cry poor all the time, while the needs and welfare for the common good are ignored. Thank you for the above link.

  • chadstinner Oct 17, 2007

    IT's amazing how EVERY SINGLE POLL returns the same answer that NC residents do NOT want toll roads. Yet these ignorant "officials" of which I wish names would be published, continue to push for it. What part of "NO" do you not get?

    I completely understand that we NEED the roads, but that is more a matter of readjusting where the money we pay in taxes for the roads goes. Instead of being redirected, if they were used for the roads we wouldn't be in the situation we are now.