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9/27/2007
Texas: Toll Road Uses Traffic Signals to Generate Congestion
The Texas Department of Transportation is installing traffic signals designed to increase congestion and drive toll road traffic.

SH130 Toll Road
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is using traffic signals to create the level of frustration to a point where the public is forced to accept toll roads. Earlier this month in Austin, TxDOT added an extra traffic signal on State Highway 71 to coincide with the opening of the third segment of the State Highway 130 toll road. Residents interviewed by News 8 Austin complained that the change made already bad traffic much worse on nearby free roads.

"At its worst it's about a two-hour wait," Daniel Villegas said. "Traffic just accumulates and accumulates."

Likewise, those driving on US 183 Liberty Hill are diverted onto a frontage road with a new traffic signal that generates significant congestion that can only be avoided by taking the 183A toll road.

"It has become obvious to me that this whole toll road system has less to do with improving mobility and more to do with lining the pockets of private toll road investors and property developers along the old and new routes," resident Malcom Terry wrote in a complaint to the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority in February. "We were sold a bill of goods."

Often state agencies enter into "non-compete" agreements with private companies that operate toll roads. The provisions of these agreements require not only that nearby competing free roads remain unimproved, but also that various obstacles such as lowered speed limits and traffic signals be used to generate additional congestion, as happened on the Colorado E-470 and Sydney, Australia's Cross City Tunnel.

Source: New traffic lights a nightmare for commuters (News 8 Austin (TX), 9/27/2007)

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