Cintra's hijack of I-635 in Dallas to cost commuters up to $24/day

Link to article here.

Cintra’s spokesperson has lost their minds if they think paying up to 95 cents a mile, eventually $24/day roundtrip, in tolls is a ‘hit’ with North Texas drivers. The article says the 13-mile commute will cost about $7, but not during peak hours. The published toll rate will be up to 95 cents a mile depending on the time of day and level of congestion on the lanes, so the cost could be up to $12 one-way.

No one in their right mind signs-up to fork over that kind of money on a daily basis unless they’re desperate or independently wealthy. In fact, drivers are flocking to the side roads when they see the toll rate jacked-up in real time as they’re driving to work. They may get time reliability, but they can’t get price reliability so they can’t exit fast enough. Long-term this thing is a nightmare, and those who can avoid living or working in that area will do so.

More Toll Lanes To Open Along I-35E This Weekend
By BJ Austin & Krystina Martinez
July 10, 2014

Dia Kuykendall, the director of corporate affairs for LBJ Infrastructure Group, says the new, elevated segment will lift drivers over the chronically congested I-35E/I-635 interchange and set them down at I-35 and Loop 12. The return trip will quicken the commute from Loop 12 north to eastbound 635/LBJ. The grand opening price range is 65 cents to $1.65 for the 3.6-mile stretch.

“About a quarter of a mile before the entrance, you will see a large toll rate sign,” says Kuykendall. “And on that sign will be the price points to enter the TEXpress lanes. The price you see is the price you pay.”

Ann Lieber, an anti-toll road activist from Collin County, says opening new toll roads or lanes in segments is a sneaky way to get more from drivers’ wallets.

“It’s done incrementally so people will accept it,” Lieber says. “They’re conditioned to it.  And I’m totally against it. I think it’s an outrage.”

Lieber believes the state legislature has dropped the ball on Texas transportation by not adequately funding it.  And because of that, she says people are being taxed twice for roads and mobility – the gasoline tax that’s paid to the state, and tolls paid to escape chronic gridlock.

“I get very disheartened when I hear citizens say ‘oh, I don’t mind paying for convenience.’  Really?  How much will you pay?”

Lieber doesn’t plan to rush out and try this new stretch of ‘managed’ or toll lanes. But, she admits that sometimes she grits her teeth and hits the entrance ramp to one of the region’s toll roads to get where she’s going.

Kuykendall says the first LBJ TEXpress lanes that opened a few months ago – between Greenville Avenue and Preston Road – have generally been a hit.

“It’s been received quite well,” she says. “Since the end of May, more than 522,000 TEXpress drivers have used, or taken advantage of Phase 1 of the TEXpress lanes.”

Kuykendall says when the whole 13-mile stretch between Loop 12 and Greenville is completed in 2016, drivers will really see the benefit of a guaranteed 50 miles an hour and flexible tolling system.

Early estimates put the cost of the 13-mile managed lane commute at a little more than $7.

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