Here are some questions we submitted to the Bridges Authority today:
Wilbur Smith's November 2007 tolling study suggests that demand and resulting revenue from a tolled East End Bridge would be low if it were the only bridge tolled. That's not surprising considering an erroneous assumption that the Downtown Bridge and 23-lane Spaghetti Junction is completed.
Question #1: Did the previous study make this incorrect assumption?
According to the project's last published schedule (Jan. 2009), the EE Bridge should open 6 years before the Downtown Bridge. Therefore the projected demand for tolling the EE Bridge should be based on the assumption that there is no new Downtown Bridge or expanded Spaghetti Junction for at least the first six years? Additionally, this demand data should be itemized as "pre" and "post" Downtown Bridge completion.
Question #2: Will the Authority's new tolling study correct this issue?
There are also two other items which should be reflected in the new tolling study. Since the new Spaghetti Junction is scheduled to take 17 years to complete, the demand model should be calibrated for likely downtown construction delays.
Furthermore, since the last tolling study, KIPDA has removed the widening of I-64 through the Cochran Tunnel from the region's long range transportation plan. This will likely have a significant impact on regional traffic patterns. In fact, a study without constraining the width of I-64 to four lanes in that section would be clearly flawed.
Question #3: Will both of the above issues be incorporated into the new tolling study?