8/15/2005Colorado City Ruins Road to Boost Toll Revenue
Commerce City, Colorado non-compete agreement lowered the speed limit and installed unneeded traffic signals to force people onto the E-470 toll road.
As part of an agreement with private toll road developers, officials in Commerce City, Colorado embarked on a plan to lower speed limits and install unnecessary traffic lights on a road parallel to the E-470 toll highway beginning in 2002. The move was designed to make driving on Tower Road an unpleasant experience, forcing frustrated motorists to pay the toll to get to their Denver-area destination.
Last week, the website unbossed.com uncovered the existence of a non-compete clause between the E-470 Public Highway Authority and Commerce City. It specified that until January 2008, the Tower Road speed limit should be lowered from 55 to 40 MPH and that stop lights be installed on 96th, 104th and 112th Avenues. Commerce City also agreed not to make any improvements on the road that would make driving safer or more pleasant.
"They believed the right thing to do was to get a governmental agreement that would restrict the speed limit, and, uh, require putting in traffic lights," Steve Hogan, executive director of the Northwest Parkway Authority explained in a Colorado House Transportation Committee hearing last Thursday. "That was... that was... purely a financial situation, and nothing else."
The E-470 toll highway runs for 47 miles along the eastern perimeter of the Denver metropolitan area. A trip the length of the road costs $10.25 in tolls.
So, here we have public officials agreeing to impede traffic on public highways in order to protect the private interests of toll road investors. Not only are people who use toll roads having to pay to use them, but the rest of the public is being inconvenienced as well.Source: Hidden Costs of Toll Roads (unbossed.com, 8/8/2005)
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