Commutes times on the Katy 1-10 toll managed lanes have only gotten longer for the vast majority of commuters. The additional capacity cannot be accessed by most drivers, so that capacity has not reduced congestion on the free lanes. So after spending $2.8 billion in our gas taxes to 'reduce' congestion, congestion has only gotten worse. It demonstrates restricted lanes of any kind (whether bus-only, HOV, or toll) do not reduce overall congestion on a facility. Open up this capacity to all users and it might start making a dent in the perpetual congestion on I-10 from Katy into Houston. But once you give a government agency unlimited access to your wallet, good luck ripping it away from them. When HB 2612 passed the legislature last session, it authorized a study of how to eliminate toll roads built with state funds. I-10 managed toll lanes were completely paid for BEFORE it opened as a toll facility (it's been set-up as a double tax scheme to profit off congestion from day one) was indeed financed with state gas taxes. It's therefore eligible to have the tolls removed, which is what Houstonians should demand -- IMMEDIATELY!
Reducing congestion: Katy didn’t
By Joe Cortright
Here’s a highway success story, as told by the folks who build highways.
Several years ago, the Katy Freeway in Houston was a major traffic bottleneck. It was so bad that in 2004 the American Highway Users Alliance (AHUA) called one of its interchanges the second worst bottleneck in the nation wasting 25 million hours a year of commuter time. (The Katy Freeway, Interstate 10, connects downtown Houston to the city’s growing suburbs almost 30 miles to the west).
Obviously, when a highway is too congested, you need to add capacity: make it wider! Add more lanes! So the state of Texas pumped more than $2.8 billion into widening the Katy; by the end, it had 23 lanes, good enough for widest freeway in the world.