On Tuesday the Harris County Commissioner’s Court voted to raise the fees for anyone using any of Houston’s toll roads. In a unanimous vote, the court decided to raise fees by 25 cents on all county toll roads. They also decided to stick it to drivers during the hours of 6-9 a.m. and 4-7 p.m. by raising fees to $2.50!
Listening to Commissioner Steve Radack on 740AM Tuesday afternoon only infuriated me more. He said that there has not been a fee increase in some time and this increase is greatly needed to help finish such projects as the Katy Freeway. He also said that Houston has a congestion problem (duh – we’re only the 4th largest city in the U.S.) and that the increase in tolls should make people think twice about using the toll roads when other routes are available. He said, “Let them go down Richmond Road.” Ummm…You trying driving down Richmond Road during peak hours.
So let me get this straight. You built toll roads because we have too many people and not enough room on the freeways. You had to pay for these extra roads so you implemented the new roads as toll roads. Now there are too many people on the toll roads so let’s get them off of these roads by jacking up toll fees…What did I miss???
The whole point of using toll roads (especially during rush hour) is to get from Point A to Point B quicker than than using the major interstates. Shame on us for thinking that the toll roads would make life better for commuters and now it is our fault that so many of us are on the toll roads – we should be punished by paying DOUBLE during rush hour.
Very logical thinking there.
Today, abc13 is expressing the outcries, anger, and frustration from the Houston public. They say that Radack has had more to say. “There’s a lot more to it than this and the commissioner’s court has not made a final decision,” he told Eyewitness News. Additionally they report “Radack says there is a lot more analysis being done at the county level. He says there is much more work to be done before county commissioners decided just how much to increase tolls.”
So which is it? Has there been a final decision or not? And if a decision has not been made then how come the new fees have been reported to start in September? And Mr Radack, if this decision is not final then why would you approve something that obviously needs to be studied further? Sheesh. Talk about back tracking your words.
I suggest instead of the county hiring private firms to do analysis about our toll roads – they should hear what the public has to say.
The Harris County Commissioner’s Court needs to reconsider what they are asking from the public. Again, shame on us for using the toll roads!!! Now pay up or get off!
For the time being, the Court has reported to expect the following:
• All county tolls: Will rise 25 cents in September. EZ Tag, now $1, will be $1.25. Cash transactions, now $1.25, will rise to $1.50.
• Westpark Tollway: Now $1, will rise to $1.25 at non-peak hours, $2.50 at peak hours of 6-9 a.m. inbound and 4-7 p.m. outbound.
• Down the road: Toll rates will double over the next 20 years. Rates will go up annually by 2 percent or at the rate of the rise in the consumer price index, whichever is greater.