540 Tolls begin between NC54 and US64: What will it cost you? Prepare for a shock!
Do you enjoy renting a house for a week at the beach in the summer for your family vacation, or how about a cabin in the mountains for skiing in the winter? You can kiss those budget items goodbye. With this being only Phase 2 of 3 phases in this first toll road in NC, when Phase 3 opens the numbers in this chart have only one place to go… up. Here are the current rates for a regular 2 axel vehicle:
|NC 147 to US 64|
|Toll Method||1 Way||Daily||Weekly||Annually (50 weeks)
(presumes 2 weeks vacation)
|Bill by Mail||$3.25||$6.50||$32.50||$1625.00|
|NC 54 to US 64|
|Toll Method||1 Way||Daily||Weekly||Annually (50 weeks)
(presumes 2 weeks vacation)
|Bill by Mail||$2.35||$4.70||$23.50||$1175.00|
Seeking new faces!
The 540 tolls could now affect more people than ever. We are seeking dynamic leaders to take our fight further and louder than before. Are you up to the challenge? Contact Us and let us know what you would like to do to fight the tolls.
Southern and Eastern 540 Sections Proposed as Toll – Surprised?
Could you say you saw this coming? That’s right folks, the southern and eastern sections of 540 are now being proposed as toll as well. As with our previous post on 7/1/2009, we got tolls AND a gas tax raise. In 30 years, will we see the tolls not removed and we’ll be saying “I told you so”?
Gas Tax Cap Removed Yet Toll Road Still Looms
News 14 Carolina reports that there is no longer a cap on the NC Gas Tax. The previous cap (maximum) of 30 cents per gallon is now the minimum! The tax can rise based on gas price rates… if they go up, the gas tax can go up. No Tolls on 540 has been stating all along that NC Legislators have not only allowed tolls on a road our tax dollars have already paid for (a portion of the proposed 540 Western Wake Parkway) but that taxes would be raised as well. If there are to be raises in taxes, particularly gas taxes and those related to transportation, toll roads should not exist, especially on stretches of road that our tax dollars have already paid for.
Federal Bailout Money to Build a Toll Road?
Triangle Business Journal article confirms that the NCDOT has listed the toll road project as one they want to receive some of the Federal stimulus (bailout) funds. No Tolls on 540 has asked of the NCTA, “why would the road still be built as a toll facility if Federal stimulus money is received and put towards the project?” The response was much more complicated than expected. We have had a lengthy phone discussion with the NCTA and expect a written statement addressing this issue shortly. The article highlights the continued disconnect between State departments. The NCDOT wants to put bailout money towards the toll project while David Joyner, Executive Director of the NCTA, suggests in his quote that it seems unnecessary to fund the project with stimulus money when it could be financed with bonds.
NCTA Unable to Sell Bonds
Triangle Business Journal article confirming that the NCTA is unable to sell bonds for the toll road. Financial markets will have to settle before they can move forward.
Dole Presses Tippet about NC Equity Plan’s impact on Needed Road Projects
US Senator Elizabeth Dole has expressed her concerns to Lyndo Tippet (NC Transportation Secretary AND Chair of the NCTA Board of Directors) about the equity plan and its role affecting the I-85 Yadkin River bridge. She states “In fact, I have been asked not to request directed fuederal funds for this project by individuals within the NCDOT because if provided, this funding could eliminate transportation funds for other much-needed projects in the area”. The I-85 Yadkin River bridge is 52 years old and has a rating of 53.2 out of 100! Spooky! Is that safe? What Dole suggests is that even if federal funding is secured, the NC equity plan would quickly whisk that money away to other areas. Tippet and Tony Rand (who help finance each other politically) say the Fayetteville Loop has more money alotted to it than any other in the loop program across NC. Tippet and Rand are both from this area. Good ‘ol boy politics??
State Budget Allows TAX Dollars to Fund Building of Toll Roads
Keeping this short and sweet, the NC budget passed by the General Assembly is set to allow the NCTA to build toll roads using our TAX DOLLARS. It makes us wonder, how about you?
With $0 Revenue, Executive Director of NCTA makes more than NC Governor
Gov. Mike Easley makes $135,854 per year, yet it would appear that as of Auguest 2007, David Joyner: email@example.com the Executive Director of the NC Turnpike Authority is making $148,122 per year. That is MORE than the NC Governor makes… so who is really the boss here?? Some other numbers for you to consider: Chief Operating Officer James J. Eden: firstname.lastname@example.org, $143,520 per year; Chief Engineer Steven D. DeWitt: email@example.com, $134,947 per year; Chief Financial Officer Rufus Grady Rankin: firstname.lastname@example.org, $126,178 per year; and finally Chairman of the Board of Directors Lyndo Tippett: email@example.com, $117.142 per year. Is that only his NCTA salary or does that include his job as the NC Transportation Secretary, or is that job paid separately, and how much is that salary? We don’t have that answer right now.
Now let’s consider this, the NCTA has $0 revenue. Yes that’s right, your tax dollars on loan from the NC DOT are paying their salaries, and those are BIG salaries! Are you supposed to be paid more than your boss? The above total for the top 5 NCTA salaries (that we are aware of) is nearly $670,000 per year, and 2 of them make more than the NC Governor. Let’s not forget Gov. Easley’s wife just got a $79,700 salary increase! (for a new position) Her pay at NCSU has gone from $90,300 to $170,000!! WOW. All this after the Governor’s trip to Italy raised some eyebrows on where State Funds (your tax dollars) are spent.
Morrisville Mayor Proposes HUGE Property Tax Increase with a Potential Toll Road Looming over Residents
Morrisville residents, now is the time to express major concerns to your leaders. Your Mayor and town council want to impose a huge property tax increase on you while also supporting the proposed toll road to be built in your own backyards. How do you feel about that? You can write Mayor Jan Faulkner at: firstname.lastname@example.org and let her know. Kill two birds with one stone and let her know you are not pleased about her decision to support tolls on 540. Please write your NC Representatives and Senators as well, their email addresses can be found on our What Can I Do page.
Triangle Reps. that Voted “Aye” (for) Senate Bill 1381
Senate Bill 1381 is the bill passed which allows the NCTA to put tolls on an already existing road, the stretch currently known as NC 540. Your tax dollars and other funding have already paid for this 4.5 mile section which runs from I-40 south to NC 55 in RTP. This road is currently open to the public and you can drive on it today without paying tolls. Prior to the amendment to this bill, it was against the law to put a toll on any existing road in NC.
So who voted “Aye” (for) SB 1381 (those in red are Triangle area Representatives):
- Representative(s): Alexander; Allen, B.; Allen, L.; Almond; Blust; Brown; Capps; Carney; Church; Clary; Cole; Coleman; Crawford; Culp; Cunningham; Current; Daughtridge; Daughtry; Dickson; Dollar; England; Faison; Fisher; Folwell; Gibson; Goodwin; Hall; Harrell; Hill; Jeffus; Justice; Langdon; Lucas; Luebke; Martin; McGee; McLawhorn; McMahan; Michaux; Nye; Owens; Parmon; Pierce; Preston; Rapp; Ross; Spear; Stam; Stiller; Sutton; Walend; Warren; Weiss; Wilkins; Williams; Wray; Wright; Yongue
**Senator Clark Jenkins wanted his name in bold letters showing his support for this Bill. Sen. Jenkins is the head of the Senate Finance Committee. We have asked him to expand on his decision to support this bill; we have not heard a statement yet. He is introducing Senate Bill 1697, not only to define penalties for evasion of tolls, but to further solidify votes in favor of toll roads in NC. Please write your Representatives and Senators and tell them NO to SB 1697.
So who voted “” (for) SB 1381 (those in are ):
- Representative(s): Adams; Allred; Barnhart; Bell; Blackwood; Brubaker; Cleveland; Coates; Dockham; Earle; Eddins; Frye; Gillespie; Glazier; Goforth; Grady; Gulley; ; Haire; Harrison; Hilton; Holliman; Hollo; Holloway; Howard; Hunter; Johnson; Jones; Jones, Ed; Justus; Kiser; LaRoque; ; McAllister; McComas; Moore; Morgan; Pate; Ray; Rayfield; Rhodes; Saunders; Setzer; Starnes; Steen; Tolson; Tucker; Underhill; Walker; West; Wiley; Wilson
By our assessment of SB 1381, it is the recommendation of No Tolls on 540 that you DO NOT VOTE for these Triangle Representatives or the other Reps. that voted “Aye” for SB 1381 in the upcoming November 2008 elections.
Tolls Cost Families the Loss of Summer Vacations
Every year Joe’s family takes a vacation to the beach for a week. Now that Joe travels on the toll road, he will have to tell his family no vacation this year. Is this a possible scenario for you and your family? You bet! Let’s assume you drive a car with decent gas mileage like a Honda Accord:
Toll costs to you:
|Gas1||2008 Accord2||Tolls w/ transponder4||Tolls via mail5|
|Cost per mile||$0.13||$0.12||$0.14||$0.42|
- $4.00/ gal at 31 mpg (highway for 2008 Accord)
- 2008 Honda Accord EX MSRP $23,860 driven for the life of the car – 200,000 miles
- 18.8 miles each way, 37.6 miles per day, 21.7 work days per month = 816 miles/month
- does not include the one-time cost of the transponder ($8-$20)
- NCTA photos your license plate and an invoice is mailed to your home at a much higher rate
So if you have a transponder4, that comes to $1370.88 per year! Or at a flat rate of $2 per toll (suggested at one time by the NCTA), from home to work and back comes to $4 per day, $20 per week or $1040 per year! We would call that a major budget item for any family. OK, now the NCTA will come back and say, “well, there are non-tolled alternative routes”. That only brings up Environmental Justice issues, catering 540 w/ tolls only to the rich who can afford to pay while lower income families are pushed away by the cost. Everyone equally deserves a toll free 540.
Toll Collecting Camera Technology Not So Hot
On the bridge over I-40 at Lake Crabtree, various companies came to show off their camera technology expected to help the NCTA institute a cashless toll collection facility… with mixed results. One group using infrared technology simply couldn’t read our red numbers and letters and quit. Another group had numerous errors, unable to distinguish A from 4 or B from 8. Get your fancy plate now with combinations such as: A4B84A8B or MWWMWMMW before they are gone! In all seriousness, here is the full article from the News & Observer.
No Tolls on 540 TV Ad #1
We have a 10 second video bulletin running on News14 May 2-7 reminding the public to write your NC Legislators and tell them NO to toll roads, there are other alternative methods to funding. Think logically, not politically.
The Bell Tolls for Low-income Drivers
“The N.C. Turnpike Authority is advocating regressive toll road solutions that will negatively affect our broader transit needs for the next 40 years. Toll roads lead to taxpayer subsidies that siphon off resources needed for public transportation and create special hardships for lower-income drivers.” This News & Observer article is written by Julie McClintock who is an EPA employee in RTP and a former Chapel Hill Town Council member. Julie points out the environmental-justice issues with the proposed cashless toll facilities. Not only are they an issue for local low-income households, but also how will the tolls of a cashless facility be collected from those only driving through, especially out-of-staters?
Julie also calls for the money to be better spent on mass transit solutions rather than funding a toll road. Mass transit is an absolute necessity for future growth of the Triangle. No Tolls on 540 believes a complete toll free I-540 loop is a must for the Triangle, completed prior to the building of rail projects. A complete I-540 loop will dramatically change Triangle traffic patterns. Indeed the goals for mass transit in the Triangle must be planned for and we support them. No Tolls on 540 questions why STAC (Special Transit Advisory Commission) wants to RAISE OUR TAXES and RAISE ANNUAL VEHICLE FEES to pay for rail and bus, but not pay for I-540? See our post dated 3/1/2008 titled “Higher Taxes AND Toll Roads?” for more details.
Your TAX dollars to build TOLL roads?
Yes, that’s right, according to WRAL’s article on 4/25/2008 Governor Easley’s 21st Century Transportation Committee (yes, created by the Governor who wants to toll you so of course this committee supports tolls) suggested a plan to let part of the $172 million transferred out of the Highway Trust Fund go to build toll roads. Keep in mind, it is YOUR TAX DOLLARS (primarly from the gas tax) that puts money into the Highway Trust Fund. So, basically the Governor and his committee want to use our tax dollars to fund the building of a toll road. Is anyone familiar with the term double dipping? Those who supported Senate Bill 1381 sure are. (Note Beverly Perdue and Jim Black signatures on this bill.) This bill refers to the 4.5 mile stretch of “NC 540” that is already open and toll free from I-40 south to NC 55 in RTP… built with your tax dollars and other funding, set to be tolled if the NCTA is allowed to go forward.
Letter to CAMPO, NC Legislators and others
Take a look at what we said.
No Tolls on 540 speaks at the Triangle Parkway Public Hearing
Take a look at what we said.
No Tolls on 540 yard signs are in!
If you would like to show your support for No Tolls on 540, get a sign for your yard today.
Triangle Parkway Public Hearing on 3/25/2008
The NCTA has announced a Public Hearing Notice date for the Triangle Parkway (Highway 147 extension proposed as a toll road). The event will take place on 3/25/2008 at the Sigma Xi Auditorium, 3106 East NC 54, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709. There will be an Open House from 4:30-6:30 and the Public Hearing will being at 7PM. The Public Hearing will be open to comments and questions.
Higher Taxes AND Toll Roads?
STAC (Special Transportation Advisory Committee) has released its draft plan for the future of the Triangle’s Transportation infrastructure. In this plan, STAC is proposing a half cent sales tax increase to pay for their rail and bus expansion projects. Not mentioned in the WRAL article is also a possible proposed increase in annual fees on our vehicles. While we feel this plan is generally good for the Triangle, we see a huge disconnect between STAC’s goals and those of the NCTA. Do you want to pay higher taxes AND have a toll road built in your backyard? No. When asked what STAC thinks of this funding nightmare, the response was “The purpose of the STAC is to demonstrate value, not costs. If people see the value in having a choice other than paying tolls, then I would expect them to support it.” While STAC doesn’t yet appear to take a stand on whether or not a toll road should be built as part of our 540 loop, they are certainly not shy about asking the public for money. As we see it, the 540 loop is a critical part of the transportation infrastructure in the Triangle and it deserves more attention. Ask us to pay higher taxes, give us a free to drive I-540 loop.
Are Tippett and Wilson (NCTA Board of Directors) skirting the law?
As reported by the N&O on 2/3/2008 in an article titled “N.C. road building still mired in politics”, are Lyndo Tippett (NCTA Board of Directors, Chairman) and Lanny Wilson (NCTA Board of Directors, Vice Chairman) skirting the transportation reform law enacted in 1998? See page 3 where the article explains Tippett disclosed “none” for campaign contributions for Gov. Mike Easley and page 2 of the article where Wilson states he “doesn’t remember”. (Gov. Easley declined to comment for the N&O story.) As always, law is open to interpretation. However, one would suppose that ethical men or women would openly embrace this means to stop corruption in NC transportation politics and gladly disclose any campaign contributions/fundraising efforts as required by the 1998 reform law. Please note: Gov. Easley appointed Tippett as Secretary of the N.C. Department of Transportation in January 2001 and again to a 2nd term in 2005. Tippett also chairs the NCTA. Does this present a conflict of interest to you? We think it does. Do you worry about the ethics of how the NCTA is run? We do.
No Tolls on 540 RSS Feed
After a few requests, we have added a basic RSS feed for you to subscribe to so you can be alerted of any site updates.
Happy Holidays – Drive Safely
No Tolls on 540 would like to wish everyone a happy holiday. Please drive safely and remember, with just a little simple planning, you can avoid most toll roads.
NCTA to Move or REMOVE Popular Exits if Toll Roads go forward on the Triangle Parkway
After some questioning and anonymous tips, No Tolls on 540 did a little digging and found that access to TW Alexander from the HW-147 extension (better known as the proposed Triangle Parkway Toll Road) will be completely removed. Also, drivers currently enjoy access to Davis Drive via NC-540 and Kit Creek, this exit will also be completely removed. NC-540 drivers will have to exit 540 and go north more than a mile on the Triangle Parkway to get to a Davis Drive exit, only then to have to go back south to get to work. We contacted Bruce Mildwurf at WRAL in mid November and finally: WRAL reports RTP Shortcuts Could Close Upon Triangle Parkway’s Arrival. However, we find the article lacking. The only quote from outside the NCTA is from a Cisco PR representative. We would like to see quotes from actual RTP workers.
NCTA Votes “cashless or no-stop” for Proposed Toll Roads
WRAL reports 540 Toll Roads Would Be a ‘No-Stop’ System. So they suggest transponders. How much will it cost to build the infrastructure to maintain, monitor and deploy them? Are you going to take the time to go get one? So they suggest registering your license plate with their system so a picture of it can be taken and your account debited, or if you are not registered, to send you an invoice, thus producing a $0.39 mailing for a $x.xx toll? Yup, they STILL don’t know what the toll rate will be, although $2.00 each way has been suggested. How about we take our plates off in the morning and put a cardboard sign obscurely in our rear window (which most are tinted these days). Next, don’t register your plate with the toll system. The photo will likely fail, you don’t get billed, they don’t get revenue. Also, imagine the cost to deploy such a system! All the money that is going to the NCTA right now is coming from YOUR TAX DOLLARS on LOAN from the NCDOT.
Say NO to Privitization
WRAL reports Group Pursuing New Ways to Fund N.C. 540. So why title it “Group”? The Group is the North Carolina Turnpike Authority (NCTA) who is trying to put tolls on 540. This latest news shows us that the NCTA has been talking with private investors. If this is allowed, we will lose public control of our transportation infrastructure and will be paying higher tolls for a LONG time. What does an investor what? Return On Investment (ROI). How is this achieved? Higher tolls for a longer period of time. Two roads in Indiana are now contracted for tolls of 75 and 99 YEARS! This means your great grandkids will still be paying those tolls.
Radio Ad Campaign
No Tolls on 540 is running a radio ad campaign this week on WKNC 88.1 FM. Here are the radio ads if you would like a listen: Spot #1 and Spot #2.
Road Privitization: Protecting the Public
This well written article by Phineas Baxandall, Ph.D. comes to us thanks to our friends at Texans Against Tolls. In short, privitization of our roads is bad. The public interest and control of our transportation infrastructure is lost to investors who only seek to make profits. The quick upfront money looks good, but privitization of toll roads harms long-term public interest. Here is the executive summary and this is the full report in PDF format.