North Carolina’s First Toll Road Opens Today

Today marks the opening of North Carolina’s first toll road:

Morrisville, N.C. — Tolls are now being collected on one of the Triangle’s newest roadways. The 3.5-mile Triangle Parkway opened Dec. 8, connecting Interstate 40 and N.C. Highway 147 in Durham County to N.C. Highway 540 in Wake County.

Tolls will be collected electronically on the highway, which is the first segment of the 18.8-mile Triangle Expressway that will eventually stretch from I-40 to N.C. Highway 55 in Holly Springs.

I am an optimist, so my excitement on this development makes a critical assumption; that other taxes used to fund our roads are diminished or retired as we begin to rely more and more on tolls.

The road, which will be expanded in segments, has a cost of nearly $1 billion.  If we only toll the current segment, that 3.5 long portion, we should come up with some cash to pay down the bill:

Use of the Triangle Parkway since its opening has also topped expectations, with 8,000 to 10,000 vehicles per day, officials said.

Tolls are 30 to 50 cents for cars with a QuickPass and 45 to 70 cents for those without.

Assuming everyone uses a QuickPass, the daily take for the system is $8,400 using the low side of vehicles and toll rate.  More if we use 10,000 vehicles and 50 cent average tolls.

As toll roads increase, we will have the ability to offset gasoline taxes AND increase the flow of traffic on our highways.

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