DFW Connector Sounds Like A Lose – Lose For The Average Working Grapevine Resident

The cost of the the DFW Connector Project which will expand the 121/114 highways and other roadways in and around Grapevine will be a massive $1.05 billion.  That is billion with a capital B.  $250 million of this amount comes from federal stimulus dollars.  Who pays for this?  The answer is you, the United States tax payer.

Our tax dollars are finally being put to some good use.  That’s great news!  That is until we hear the details.  The expansion of the highway will be to add additional toll lanes.  The current number of lanes will remain free, but the expanded lanes will be tolls.  So if you are in a hurry, get out your checkbook.  You will be paying (again) for use of the newly created lanes.

And if it could not get any better, the rates are variable!  That is right.  The toll lane price can change based on the amount of traffic, time of day, time of the year, etc.  If you are trying to get through this area during rush hour, you can expect to pay more, in fact probably a lot more.  After all, who the heck would pay for a toll lane in the middle of the day when there are free lanes available?

In essence, the only times these additional lanes will be used at all will be during rush hour.  This sounds like another way to tax the people who work around here. 

I think we are being sold a Trojan horse here.  It sounds like an additional way to tax Grapevine residents.
Can we still send it back?

UPDATE (2/20/10):

Just want to clarify the point above about additional lanes being toll lanes.  We now have learned the intent of the DFW Connector Project is to have only two new toll lanes in each direction on the 121/114 connector. 

This still does not make it a good idea, but at least it is not all new lanes as toll lanes as we originally thought.

DFW Connector Project To Begin February 15th

Construction is set to begin on time in the DFW Connector project that will expand the 121/114 interchange and the north entrance to DFW airport.  This project will include the addition of both toll and non-toll lanes to the highways.

According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, any unused highway stimulus funds in the state of Texas will go towards this project.

The Regional Transportation Council on Friday agreed to designate the DFW Connector as the place in Dallas-Fort Worth where unspent Federal Recovery Act funds should go.

It’s not yet known how much, if any, stimulus funds will be unspent statewide by a March 3 deadline, although in Dallas-Fort Worth all the stimulus money has already been obligated. As of late December, $300 million statewide was still unspent, said Michael Morris, transportation director for the North Central Texas Council of Governments.

The project is planned so that the number of lanes that are available now continue to be open throughout the project.  It should be an interesting four years.