Coy, the Ol’ Coot, sent me a link to this Joint Transportation Committee video posted by Taxing Tennessee. I got a chuckle out of the questions posed by Sen. Jack Johnson.at
Johnson wanted to know: Is there a definitive date when tolls will end? Does the toll stop after the construction debt is paid or will it likely be a toll facility forever?
Coy the Coot wants to know – what tolls?
Don’t flip out just yet. The TDOT isn’t erecting booths on the way to the local beer store; however, the General Assembly did pass the Tennessee Tollway Act earlier this year.
As I understand it, the Act (after assorted amendments were added) approves tollroads as a general concept.
The Act grants the TDOT limited toll powers but prohibits use of existing roads or bridges. Therefore, in order to generate revenue from tollroads, TDOT must build the toll roads.
TDOT has been authorized to proceed with two pilot projects. I think they are starting with the Hadley Bend Connector, which has a price tag of approximately $266.5 million. The state has also studied a half loop around Knoxville called the SR475, which weighs in at $556.2 million.
Any future toll projects would have to be studied, then the DOT would to study the studies and conduct environmental and economic impact studies based on the other studies. These would be presented to the state legislature to study – then after they studied on the studies of the other studies, there would be public hearings to discuss potential displacement of homeowners – and more importantly the 42 billion bare-headed black-beaked rockfowl, which the TWRA may have imported from Africa to control the gnat population.
Following this, legislature would have to approve additional project funds, bonds, debts, loans, IOUs or losses of tax revenue, which may come as result of workers demanding to be paid in Virgina-purchased Marlboros.
Nevertheless, I am optimistic that Tollways are a good thing for Tennessee. In fact, I believe the initial project could generate state revenue as early as 2030. Of course, by that time, we’ll all own solar-powered Goremobiles or hovercrafts powered by Kudzu-based bio-fuels.
Anyway, what this all means, Coy, is no, you will NOT have to pay “fiddy-cent” to drive down 113 on your way to the Cork and Keg.