Toll roads meet opposition around the country

| Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Several state-operated toll roads in different corners of the country have met opposition recently from the public and, in some cases, officials.

Here’s a quick round up.

A California budget panel heard opposition to a 16-mile Foothill Toll Road through the San Onofre State Park Beach in Orange County, but squashed the opposition with a vote to reject new laws that could have held up the $875 million project.

One of the opponents to the Foothill Toll Road is Rep. Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara.

“(A) priority I have is to protect the state park,” Nava told the Orange County Register.

In Raleigh, NC, experts are studying the financial possibilities of creating the Western Wake County Parkway, a 13-mile tolled extension of I-540 near Highway 55 that would be just northwest of downtown Raleigh.

The state turnpike authority was scheduled to hear public comments on Tuesday, June 13, including from local residents and opponents.

Residents and drivers in Dundee, OR, are protesting the possibility of a tolled bypass between Dundee and Newberg, OR.

Local residents in the vicinity of the toll road would have to use it to get to and from some destinations, according to the report.

“We don’t want to have to pay a toll to drive our own road,” Tom Currans of Dundee told KATU-2 News.

Officials from the Oregon Department of Transportation told the television news reporter that tolls were necessary to pay for the road, which will relieve a congested State Highway 99.

Private developers in Colorado are proposing a $575 million divided toll road to bypass Interstate 25 for travelers going from Pueblo to Fort Collins.

The El Paso County Commission is recommending the Colorado Springs City Council approve the 33-mile Front Range Toll Road at I-25, near the Air Force Academy’s north gate. It would connect to I-25 at Drennan Road.

The toll road would likely include high-speed toll lanes.

The County Commission is recommending the developers try for an 80-mph limit on the new road. The Colorado Tolling Enterprise and Colorado DOT are responsible for setting the speed limit and the toll rates.

The effects of tolls are not only being felt by residents of the U.S.

British Columbia, Canada, Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon told the local Chamber of Commerce this week that tolls will remain on the provincial Coquihalla Highway, despite this being the final year in the proposed toll collection.

Falcon, according to the Globe and Mail, said the toll was implemented to connect Hope to Merritt, BC, and the road has cost $1 billion. Tolls collected so far have totaled $680 million.

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