Are toll roads the transportation solution?

Although our current weather is cooler than Florida it’s good to be home in southern CA. Whereas Ron Winship covered the Jan 1st rate increase on the 91 Express Lanes I have an article from the Orlando Sentinel that warrants some discussion relative to the policy of leasing state roads.
Terrence Dopp of the Bloomberg News reported that “nearly 50 companies such as Bank of America and Goldman Sachs are considering an offer” to lease the 537 mile Pennsylvania Turnpike. Others on the list include Merrill Lynch and JP Morgan Chase. This action is being proposed by the governor of PA as an attempt to “plug a $1.7 billion shortfall in transportation funding.
The story goes on to say that “similar transactions in Indiana and Chicago brought in more than $5 billion….New Jersey is also considering a lease or sale of its toll road to raise revenue.”

With that background what is your assessment of Orange County’s purchase of the 91 Express Lanes for $207,500,000 million dollars? When other states seek out the private sector to operate these toll roads the Orange County Board of Supervisors took an opposite direction in their thinking.

The purpose of this post is not to re-open the discussion on Measure M. The issue relates to facing the future challenges in meeting our transportation appetite and acceptance of toll roads as a way of life as more people move to or work in this area of the atate.

Lastly. In reading AB 1010, championed by the honorable Lou Correa in 2002, it reads that the tolls on the 91 Expressway will cease on December 31, 2030. Do you believe that will happen? By that date we will be either losing (or saving) billions of dollars.

About Larry Gilbert