By Torilynn Qualls |Staff Writer|
Traffic officials in San Bernardino will have to make a decision regarding the addition of toll lanes and/or carpool lanes to California Interstates 10 and 15 come December of this year.
A gathering of traffic congestion experts attended the “Decision Time Ahead: Tolls, Carpools, or Gridlock?” luncheon at CSUSB on Wednesday, Nov. 6.
The luncheon was co-sponsored by the College of Business and Public Administration’s Business Alliance and the William and Barbara Leonard Transportation Center.
These experts came to offer solutions to the traffic congestion that happens daily on California Interstates 10 and 15.
CSUSB’s Public Affairs’ news release stated, “The outcomes, whatever they may be, will affect nearly all aspects of life in the Inland Empire.”
“From commuters heading to work or school, to businesses that depend on delivery and shipment of goods, to motorists who are stuck in gridlock traffic,” according to a press release by CSUSB Public Affairs.
Building these new lanes would mean construction would have to take place on over 50 miles of Interstates 10 and 15.
If the officials do decide to implement these new toll road and/or carpool lanes they will also need to decide how the project will be funded.
Student Michelle Pace said, “I don’t see how adding toll lanes would be a solution, I think it would cause more traffic.”
“People would have to wait in long lines just to go through the toll booths,” said Pace.
Similar toll road projects, such as the 91 Freeway toll roads, claim to improve traffic congestion, but only for those that use the roads by paying a monthly fee.
True North Research of Encinitas’ findings, which were reported to Voice of OC, stated that “generally satisfied travelers estimated they shave about half an hour from their travel times by paying the tolls.”
According to the research, “the average monthly toll bill for those surveyed was $57.55.”
The Fastrak system places a transponder in the car.
This transponder records how many times a user has past through the tolls and proceeds to bill the racked up toll fees per month.
Handling cash or stopping at each toll booth wouldn’t be an issue because of this hands-free, no-observation-necessary device.
“The only question I have is would businesses or houses along those freeways have to be torn down and paved over in order to make room for these new expansions?” said student Shannon Owens.
Business and Public Administration Analyst Specialist Shelly Brown explained that if officials did decide to expand the toll roads they would be similar to the ones on the 91 freeway and would be placed in a non-residential area.
The addition of toll roads have been defeated elsewhere.
The Surfrider Foundation, of San Onofre State Beach has defeated the Tesoro toll road proposition that wanted to build five miles of toll roads along the beach coast line.
With the date of the final vote for expansion fast approaching, San Bernardino and the rest of the Inland Empire await the result which could change the drive on California Interstates 10 and 15 forever.