Applying Last Night’s Logic…

Most of our blog posts deal with information and news, but occasionally an opportunity for satire arises that I just can’t resist.  That opportunity presented itself last night when the NCDOT gave an update to the Cornelius town board on the I-77 tolling project. A good portion of the presentation was the same justifications for tolling we’ve heard before: “giving drivers a choice”, “providing a congestion management solution” etc. With that in mind, let’s apply the NCDOT tolling logic to a different problem:

Exit 28 in Cornelius is under construction. When completed the project will have four lanes in a “diverging diamond” configuration. The diverging diamond eliminates four traffic light phases from the previous configuration, so it increases throughput by an estimated 40%.  However, right now only one lane is open in either direction so the backups are horrendous.  In the morning motorists routinely sit through three or four shifts of the light, gridlock extends to adjacent roads, and congestion on alternate routes has increased. The situation will not change until the additional lanes are open sometime later this year.

That’s an awfully long time to wait. But we have a solution: if we toll the new lanes we can open them now instead of a few months later.

We’ll get a foreign company to complete the interchange at six times what it would cost to do it ourselves, and in exchange for doing us that favor we’ll let them charge you whatever they want. We’re not telling you how much they’re going to charge, but trust us it’s a really, really good deal.  We’re so excited about all the pesos they’re going to pull from your wallet that we’re cutting in on a piece of the action- we’ll get a portion of any “excess” revenues so we can build more trains in Charlotte.

If revenues don’t pan out we’ll dig into your pockets via the tax system and pay the Spaniards whatever it takes to keep them happy, but you don’t need to know that. You should also forget that you paid for the bridge and the right-of-way in the first place and that you just sold your soul for the next fifty years.

Instead you need to think of the advantages. Rather than spending ten minutes to get to the other side of town, for a few bucks you can drop off your books before the library closes. Or you can hop on a gridlocked I-77 a couple minutes earlier. Of course, if you’re not wealthy enough or desperate enough to get out of the cheapskate lane you can always idle away in traffic. See, we’re giving you a choice.

We expect traffic in the cheapskate lane will eventually back up to Rock Hill but we’re not going to tell you that because we don’t have to. All you need to know is no matter how awful traffic becomes, there’s always going to be one lane with hardly anybody on it.  After all, the last thing we want is an interchange that moves traffic because then cars would actually use it and that’s a terrible thing.

See, this is all part of our grand “congestion management” vision.  Tolls on I-77.  Tolls on 485.  Tolls on I-77 through Charlotte.

Just wait ‘til you see what we have planned for the Gilead-Statesville intersection.

9 Responses to Applying Last Night’s Logic…

  1. William Rakatansky says:

    In the same vein, don’t forget the I-77 / I-40 interchange that is under construction right now. Why not just toll those ramps that lead south to Charlotte, and east to Winston Salem; and allow those who are eventually driving north and west to drive free on the new interchange. DOT would give people a choice to either stay in North Carolina or Leave the State. If people leave the State, that would solve the traffic congestion problem that DOT says the toll lanes would alleviate. Basically, people who cannot pay the $5000 per year tolls should just go to Virginia or Tennessee. Oops, doesn’t Virginia have toll lanes around DC that are failing. But NC DOT says that toll lanes don’t fail, only the concessionaire fails.

  2. anonymous says:

    I am just trying to figure out how a 150,000 population in the Lake area is going to pay for a $625,000,000 in tolls. And if the project isn’t geared to ‘our’ pocket books then widen 21 and or 115 for the local traffic and catch those thousands of drivers that dare go thru North Carolina and not stop to buy our expensive gas.

  3. pattie marshall says:

    I also attended the NCDOT update to the Cornelius town/commissioners last night …when Commissioner Gilroy asked why the DOT never considered to just “widen” the road where it is needed…NCDOT responded…(and I’m not exaggerating…): “if you add two more general purpose lanes it will just fill up with cars and your back to where you started..”

  4. Tillis Tax Hikes says:

    SO nearly $50 Million per mile for 2 lanes? This is a scam and the taxpayers are the suckers if this passes.

  5. Brad says:

    Try to put a toll road on 77 south from downtown to 485 South and there would be a TurD storm from everyone in south CLT.
    This idea for a toll is wrong and we must work to stop this crazy effort. Roads are the public domain and it is every Americans Right to use them. Toll roads go in and never return to free roads. All roads are free except “private” roads.

    • Carl says:

      According to the DOT, that’s exactly what they plan to do. Add tolling to 485 and to I-77 from John Belk south to 485. In addition, Independence will be tolled as will all of 485 from 77 to US-74. So for those who think this is just a “lake thing” think again.

  6. John says:

    Spain uses Euros…just saying…and before euros, it was pecetas. Pesos are from Mexico and some latin america countries denominate their coins that way. What I find amuzing is how everybody complains, everybody says taxpayers (so everybody) is a sucker here for “allowing” this. But honestly, is there something you can really do? Can you actually invalidate the contract? In an honest question… ehat will it take for this decision already taken to build the toll lanes (you know this decision is already taken) to be reversed? Manifestation? doesnt work…collect signtures? doesnt work…stop paying your taxes? yeah right…sleeping in a tent for a couple of months uptown?? So what can the people really do????

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