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SH 130 toll road to open Nov. 11

Category: Public Private Partnerships

There's nothing innovative about this toll road. It uses the same financing structure that brought us the subprime mortgage crisis -- a public private partnership where government teams up with private corporations in an arrangement that guarantees the private entity's profits. Solyndra was another. They use schemes like non-compete agreements that limit and even prohibit the expansion of free roads surrounding the tollway in order to guarantee congestion on the free lanes and drive more traffic to the toll road. So just as Solomon said, there's nothing new under the sun -- and corporate cronyism and corruption in government is certainly not 'innovative.'

Innovative toll road is only a partial fix

Updated 12:40 a.m., Wednesday, October 3, 2012

If you are driving from the San Antonio area to a destination on Interstate 35 north of Austin, or vice versa, then the option of paying a toll to bypass the capital's traffic might be attractive. It might be especially attractive if you can legally travel 85 mph on a portion of the toll road.

That's the option drivers will have sometime in the next month or so, thanks to an innovative public-private partnership that will complete Texas 130 from I-35 near Georgetown to I-10 just east of Seguin.

Link to entire editorial here.

Texas 130 extension a 41-mile experiment
State's first public-private toll road to open by Nov. 11.
By Vianna Davila
October 1, 2012

Brandon Morales once was suspicious of toll roads. Why pay extra, he thought, when you can't even drive faster than everyone else?

That's before he tried out Texas 130, a toll road that stretches from Georgetown to south Austin. Not only could the San Marcos resident avoid Interstate 35 traffic, some of the worst in the state, he could also gun his engines: Passenger vehicles can travel up to 80 mph on Texas 130.

Soon, Morales can drive even faster. A 41-mile extension of the Texas 130 toll road will open in the next six weeks, connecting south Austin to Seguin at Interstate 10. It will have an 85 mph limit, the highest in the country.

That matters to Morales, a sales coordinator and shop manager for Ralph Lauren who drives an average of 450 miles a week for work. For him, time savings are worth the price of a toll.
“I don't mind paying for things that make my life easier,” Morales said.

The speed limits might be the big incentive for some drivers. But the Texas 130 extension is significant for much more. It's the first toll road to open in the San Antonio vicinity. The toll collection system will be entirely automated, so vehicles will either pay via pre-purchased electronic tags or else get billed by mail.

Beyond that, Texas 130 is an experiment of sorts. Conceived as an alternative to I-35, the Texas 130 extension is the state's first public-private toll road to open to traffic.

Read more here.