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Leaders Fight Central Expressway Managed Toll Lane Proposal

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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – If you live, work, or play in Collin County — you know the drill. Get on a toll road to get where you want to go. There’s the George Bush, the Sam Rayburn and the Dallas North Tollway. Now, if some leaders get their way, tolls could eventually come to Central Expressway.

The push for the pay to ride lanes also has some leaders raising their voices and demanding a different approach.

For so many Collin County drivers the weight of riding on too many toll roads has them fatigued.

“I think there are enough toll roads,” one person said matter-of-factly.

“You try to avoid them,” another driver said. “I can go from here to Coppell and it can cost me $6 or $7.”

Now, local politicians are chiming in. “No more toll roads,” said Collin County Commissioner Duncan Webb.

Webb was one of 11 authors behind a letter sent to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). In it, state lawmakers and county leaders expressed “strong opposition” to the proposal that would turn the Central Expressway’s HOV lane into a managed toll lane.

“Collin County residents feel that they pay… they have more toll roads than anywhere else in the metroplex,” Webb said. “And they’re being burdened more than anywhere else in the DFW.”

TxDOT officials say the hope is to get better use of the HOV lane. “The HOV lane is not full and we want to east congestion by letting some single occupant vehicles in there for a toll.”

Some drivers admitted traffic in the high occupancy vehicle lanes can be sparse.

“When you look over at the HOV lane what do you see?” a reporter asked. The driver responded honestly, “Not much.” Posed with the same questions others said, “Very few cars,” and “It’s relatively empty.”

Webb agreed stating that, “The last stats I saw were nine cars used it every minute and a half.”

The county’s letter offers its own solution. Calling the HOV lane “a constant irritant,” it proposes doing away with them all together.

While driver like the idea of chucking the HOV lanes they don’t ant them replaced with toll lanes.

“They need to just leave it open to everybody,” one driver said. Another agreed adding, “I think it could be used better if it was opened up for general use.”

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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