DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Take a drive on the LBJ in East Dallas and there is no debating the problem. More lanes are needed and fast.
“They need to do something, like real fast, because it’s a headache,” said driver Aujanze Tay.
The proposed LBJ East expansion project would add more free lanes as well as managed toll lanes to I-635 between US75 to I-30, essentially expanding the LBJ Express project another 10.8 miles eastward.
By partnering with a private company, funding for the project can be accelerated.
The LBJ East project could be completed in a little as five years with managed toll lanes.
However, if only state dollars are used in a pay-as-you-go system, it could take ten years or longer.
Garland Mayor Douglas Athas said that would be too long for businesses that line the freeway.
“It’s really irrelevant to me how we pay for this – if we do it with managed lanes or not,“ he said. “The only thing I am concerned about is how long it takes to do it.”
Pointing to recent development near Centerville and I-635, he said, “If we take eight to ten years to do the construction, this could all dry up.”
But as general contractor who drives from project to project, Kent Welden says he’s tired of toll roads.
“I’m already paying to drive on half the roads in Dallas,” he said. “If you did this, I would be paying to drive on the roads everywhere I go.”
A growing backlash against toll roads led state lawmakers to file nine so-called “anti-toll road” bills this session.
Many of the bills call for more money to be put towards road projects as long as those projects do not include toll roads.
Last year voters approved a measure to spend some of the state’s revenue from taxes on oil and gas production to fund road construction. The money, however; can only be used on non-tolled roadways.
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