Toll Could Help Fund Remainder of Marsha Sharp Freeway and Other Lubbock Projects - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/10/05

Toll Could Help Fund Remainder of Marsha Sharp Freeway and Other Lubbock Projects

Funding for the final phase of the Marsha Sharp Freeway, which ends at 4th and I-27, could be in question. A toll is one proposed finance option which could complete the remainder of the project as well as future Lubbock projects. Normally, for a toll you'd need a pocket full of change, but not for this one.

Three taxpaying citizens in Lubbock have three opinions concerning the future of thousands of Lubbock area drivers.

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A toll on the Marsha Sharp Freeway, which would span from Loop 289 to I-27 is the debate. The cost for the eight mile span is $1, $2 round trip.

One man said, "I'm not going that far to pay a dollar, gas is already expensive enough, so I think that would just add on to the price of driving in Lubbock."

Another woman said, "I think that's reasonable, just because I think it's good to see the money come back into Lubbock."

And another man said, "I just wouldn't like the inconvenience of having to stop and pay a toll."

However, if Lubbock did have a toll, there would be a constant flow of traffic. On your windshield would be a 'toll tag'. Every time you go through the toll, a computer would scan it. At the end of the month you'd get a bill, similar to a cell phone bill.

Extra revenue generated from the toll would mean TX-DOT could complete the freeway and other local construction projects in a more timely fashion, leading to fewer orange zones and alleviating current congestion.

"I swore I'd never complain about traffic when we moved here," said one woman, "Then I find myself on weekends driving down Slide Road saying I hate this road!"

Dallas and Houston are the only two cities with existing tolls. One is under construction in Austin. There's talk of future tolls in San Antonio, Corpus Cristi, El Paso and possibly Midland/Odessa.

The toll would likely be permanent. It would stay to help pay for future unfunded projects, which means the money will stay in the Lubbock area.

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