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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Tolls on HR's Roads

The new HRTA is looking into tolls on our roads. While I do not immediately condone tolls, I do object to tolls as high as $2.05 for the Midtown Tunnel. They say the toll was made high as a way of "thinning out the congestion and urging people to car pool." First, how would tolling the Midtown Tunnel thin congestion?? You can't go an alternate route, unless you go for the Downtown Tunnel, but they want a toll on that too; not to mention it would make the DT much more congested. Second, not everybody CAN carpool. I take the Midtown Tunnel twice every Wednesday for this entire Semester to go to the Portsmouth Campus of TCC. Lets do the math for a minute: 16 weeks x $2.05 toll x 2 trips = $65.60. $65!! College students like myself do not have much money. I take the bus to the Norfolk Campus on Tuesdays, thats $48 for the Semester (well under the amount of gasoline used and Parking) I can not take the bus to the Portsmouth Campus. It would take me 5 transfers and 2 hours. Perhaps a better way to solve the traffic congestion would be better public transportation.
Tolls slow down traffic flow. They drive up the cost of Single Occupancy Vehicle drivers. Normally this would drive people to find cheaper, quicker ways. This is why subways are so popular in NYC and Atlanta and DC. In Hampton Roads, however, there is no efficient mass transit. The light rail is a start but when it opens it still will not be as effective as it could be.
Lets reform Mass Transit before we start wasting billions of dollars on projects that only encourage Single Occupancy Vehicles.

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