Thanks to Orange County’s nearly 60 miles of toll roads, commuters have been able to make choices about travel for decades, paying a little extra fee for faster service. Los Angeles is now following in Orange County’s footsteps with the opening of the express lanes on the 110 Freeway.
If the toll roads are in financial trouble, it is due in large part to government officials trying to stop or slow down the Transportation Corridor Agencies from completing the system to assure financial viability. TCA has been prevented from connecting the toll road system to the 5 Freeway (denied last by the California Coastal Commission). Just this month, the Orange County Transportation Authority rejected an express lane between the 73 toll road and the 405 Freeway.
Those complaining about the financial viability of toll roads have actually contributed to the slow torture of a great idea: choice.
The writer is president and chief executive of the Orange County Business Council.
So the toll roads are not collecting enough in tolls to cover their expenses. They raise the tolls, and revenue still fails to meet projections. Why don’t they try lowering the tolls to increase revenue? That worked well for taxes — oh, wait.
As an Inland Empire resident who frequently drives south to visit friends in Orange County and San Diego, the toll road network has saved me countless hours and untold amounts of frustration. Sitting in the crawl of the always jammed 91 Freeway, the sign at the entrance to the 241 toll road brings relief every time.
Some things in life are just worth the cost. I count my time and my sanity among them.