HOT Lanes are Coming to a Highway Close to You
You may have heard about the high occupancy toll (HOT) lane issue on I-77 and disregarded the subject, thinking it is a North Mecklenburg problem. GUESS WHAT! HOT lanes may be coming to Independence Boulevard. There are also discussions about bringing HOT lanes to I-485. It is reasonable to think highways close to you will be next?
The reality is HOT lanes don’t cure congestion. HOT lanes just provide drivers with an option to pay to get out of congested general purpose lanes. HOT lanes will save the government money by contracting with private companies to pay for part of the construction and maintenance in return for collecting tolls, but taxpayers will end up paying much more. In the case of I-77, the binding contract for HOT lanes will last 50 years. If during that time the state does something to ease congestion on I-77 and thus reduce revenues for the private contractor, guess who is responsible for making up for the lost profits? You, the taxpayer!
The government contends the only solution to congestion is HOT lanes, but as previously pointed out HOT lanes do not reduce congestion. They only provide relief for those that can afford it. There are less costly alternatives for you that will reduce congestion for all, and the economic disincentives congestion brings. The money is available, but the government will have to do a better job of prioritizing our transportation needs and demonstrate greater discipline in the use of our gas and road use taxes.
Please, educate yourself about HOT lanes and the alternatives. A good place to start is the website WidenI77.org. Once North Carolina signs the binding contracts, we will have to pay to either use or get rid of HOT lanes.
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