Hwy. I-394 toll lanes fail to cover their cost
Hmmm, fail to cover costs? So, what, a couple hundred short or so? I'm sure they'll make that up in a week or two, right? Bull:
The project's $1.2 million operating budget will come up one-third short for its first year, ending in May, unless higher tolls can make up the difference. But that's unlikely since drivers can simply opt out if they consider the new tolls too high.I might be reading that wrong, but it sounds to me like the toll lanes aren't even paying for their operating expenses. If that's the case, then not only are they persistent money losers, but they'll never recoup the initial capital outlay for their construction. Remind me again how this is supposed to help us with our transportation funding shortfall or relieve congestion?
Despite the toll shortfall, MnDOT's private partner in the venture, Cofiroute Global Mobility, will get its money -- $1.2 million in the first year of a five-year contract and unspecified amounts in coming years. Not a bad deal. The French company isn't the only supplicant lining up for phantom toll revenues: Tolls must also cover the project's $10 million construction cost before they can be applied to Cofiroute's operations, according to authorizing legislation.
Well, for that kind of hard hitting analysis there's only one place to go, Mark Kennedy:
While Minnesotans sit in traffic, we’re spending billions in federal gas tax dollars on things like bike paths, bridges to nowhere, and Amtrak. It’s time to end the old ways of doing things and for new ideas based on common sense.Yay, Mark! Get rid of alternatives to driving and throw money down a black hole of a system that doesn't work. Sounds like a Republican brainchild to me. (It's especially funny because right before lambasting Amtrak and "bridges to nowhere", he touts all of the money going into the Northstar line. I guess earmarks are okay, as long as the money goes into your district.)
For years, I have been working with taxpayer, highway user and construction groups on a common-sense solution to our congestion problems. I introduced the Freeing Alternatives for Speedy Transportation (FAST) Act, to promote innovation and fiscal responsibility in our transportation policy. This bipartisan legislation has been called "one of the most significant improvements in the federal highway program since it was created in 1956." FAST lane users would have new lanes to use, and those who choose not to use the FAST lanes will benefit from having fewer cars in existing lanes.
Like so many "user fees" proposed over the last four years this was nothing more than an attempt to have one's cake (more roads) and eat it too (no new taxes). Guess what? It doesn't work like that. 394 is only a fraction less of a mess and the State is out millions of dollars. Brilliant!