October 25 - October 31, 2015

Some roadways, like the new LBJ Expressway in Dallas, are charging varying toll rates, based on traffic volume and peak usage times, as a means to repay private investors in public-private partnership (P3) highway projects. Do you think this is a wise move?

Answers Votes
No, I do not believe we should have public and private money mixed together for P3 projects. 41%
Yes, I agree that investors have to make a profit, but I don’t like that the toll lanes change prices throughout the day based on traffic; that’s a penalty to the drivers. 22%
No, because the investors are making interest on their bonds, so cut the additional fees. 22%
Yes, the investors have to make their money back somehow, so that’s fine. 14%

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Tagged categories: Program/Project Management; Roads/Highways

Comment from Car F., (10/28/2015, 10:56 AM)

P3 is an elegant way for private syndicates to extricate money from the "socialist' government purse, while at the same time expounding on the virtues of private initiative, who could not exist otherwise without the infusion of public money on large size public projects.

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (10/29/2015, 8:29 AM)

For me the responses weren't fine grained enough. I actually support dynamic pricing - when traffic is heavy it can dramatically improve throughput (vehicles per hour) by avoiding gridlock. The original study in California showed better throughput for 2 dynamically priced lanes was noticeably better than 3 "free" lanes on the same corridor. The "free" lanes became overloaded and traffic slowed to a crawl, while the dynamically priced lanes were kept free flowing. The question becomes whether spending $10 to save an hour of your time (or whatever the actual situation) is worth it to you. As a further aside: Because of the increased throughput of the dynamic tolled lanes, the traffic flow on the free lanes actually improves as well.

Comment from M. Halliwell, (10/29/2015, 11:01 AM)

I think P3's have their place and can be a valuable tool. IN days where government balance sheet is tight, it can be a way to get important infrastructure projects done. BUT...the repayment strategy can be a bit of a pain and needs to be worked out carefully. I can see where a dynamic toll has its advantages...but also where it would get users upset.

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (11/3/2015, 9:31 AM)

Having dynamic tolling is really a separate issue than P3. Agreed that the repayment structure (heck, the whole agreement) needs to be carefully designed.

Comment from Michael Durbin, (11/4/2015, 9:18 AM)

Has anyone ever seen a toll booth close down once the costs associated with the building of the bridge/lanes/structure are repaid?

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (11/6/2015, 10:48 AM)

Yes, I recall in the 1980s-1990s a fair number of tolls on I-95 were shut down after the building costs were repaid.

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