Toll Road Footprint

Because Texas law dictates that the Texas Transportation Commission cannot convert a non-toll road segment into a toll road unless the public has “a reasonable alternative non-tolled route” (Texas Transportation Code Ann. § 370.035(2),Vernon 1999 & Supp. 2004), TxDOT’s plan for Oak Hill is required to have handle both toll and non-tolled traffic. This creates a highway that is wider than a football field for more than 3 miles.

The toll road takes up the entire right-of-way, thereby preventing any other possible future transit options.

290andOBC
Highway 290 and Old Bee Caves Road before and after. 600 foot wide highway.
290andConvictHill
Highway 290 and Convict Hill before and after. 400 foot wide highway.


Toll Diversion / Avoidance

la-162713-me-1208-la-me-adv-toll-roads-6-gmk-jpg-20131120Some people cannot afford to pay tolls, so they seek alternate routes and clog frontage and local roads. It’s a well-known fact that toll roads divert traffic and cause accidents

“…tolls would divert up to 36% of traffic to alternate routes, contributing to delays, traffic accidents, and wear and tear on smaller secondary roads that were not built to handle high traffic levels.
North Carolina I-95 Economic Assessment / Section 3-26

Kenmore, WA Mayor David Baker said the number of people avoiding tolls by driving through his town is unbearable and about to get worse when the state turns carpools lanes on Interstate 405 into express toll lanes later this year.

The Washington State Transportation Commission called toll diversion an unfortunate side effect of tolling.

Effects on Local Businesses

Having to pay a toll to get to a place a business makes it less likely to have unplanned or casual shoppers.

“The city has not been able to address the issue of the $3.50 toll, which it feels keeps tourists and shoppers away while also burdening commuting service workers who must use it twice daily.”
Orange Beach, Alabama Mayor Tony Kennon

Additionally, if the toll road creates more local access traffic, it’s less likely a shopper will want to stop.

“Businesses also usually oppose road pricing because it means higher transportation costs, which can prevent some customers from conducting business, in consequence of which they do not buy goods and services, and demand drops.”
“Socio-economic impacts of road pricing”, Conference of European Directors of Roads, 2009

Economic Equality Concerns

Toll roads can create additional economic disparity when someone is on a limited budget.

“High-income drivers, who, economists generally believe, place a higher value on their time, may be more likely to pay the toll and benefit from a faster trip than low-income drivers, thus possibly generating income equity concerns.”
United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) – GAO-12-119

affordCompared to the surrounding areas, Oak Hill can still be considered an affordable place to live in Austin. We are also home to affordable housing communities, and with more planned, the affect of additional financial burdens on these households must be considered.

← “Heat Map” of Austin real estate prices from trulia.com. Oak Hill is circled.

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