Hi-Tech Highway Coming To North Carolina

Groundbreaking for the nation's most technologically highway, a toll road, occurred on August 12 in North Carolina. Attended by Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez, the 19 mile road will have no toll booths. It is expected to open 2011.

The Triangle Expressway is not only unique from a technological perspective, but also from a financial basis as well. It relied on toll-revenue bonds, Build America bonds, and Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loans.

"This project will be designed and built to use an all-electronic system. There will be no toll booths and no stopping to pay tolls. Customers purchase a transponder that automatically charges for road use."

Don't have a transponder? Smile for the "overhead high-speed cameras (that) snap an image of your license plate and drivers will be billed according to the number of miles driven."

If successful, expect future tollways to use the same, all-electronic system technology.

Thanks to Charles Siegel

Full Story: Federal Highway Administrator Mendez helps break ground on North Carolina's innovative Triangle Expressway



VMT Fees And Privacy

I have been trying to spread this news, because it might be a way to impose an anti-congestion VMT fee without raising objections about privacy.

Most proposals for VMT fees involve reading the odometer to collect the fee. Because the odometer does not distinguish among the roads you drive on, this method does not let us collect higher tolls on more congested roads to reduce congestion.

Most proposals for VMT fees with congestion pricing involving using GPS systems that track vehicles movements, but there are strong objections to this on privacy grounds.

It seems that this sort of transponder-based-toll system could allow us to charge VMT fees with congestion pricing, without objections that it violates privacy. Going even further, drivers could have pre-paid cards that the transponder deducts the VMT fee from as it passes each toll point: then there would be no need to record the location of the car, just to deduct the appropriate fee at each toll point.

Thanks to Irv for posting this news story.

Charles Siegel

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