Much to the dismay of Orange County drivers, the toll roads are likely to continue charging users years after the original end date.
The decision-makers of Orange County’s toll road system have approved a $2.4 billion bond sale to refinance its highways. This sale will likely increase the years in which drivers will be forced to pay tolls. The change may add 13 additional years of tolls, which would not allow drivers to travel without being charged until 2053.
The highways that are being altered include the 133, the 241, and the 261 toll roads. The 133 is in central Orange County and the other two cross through the hills from Yorba Linda to Ranch Santa Margarita.
The restructuring has been made in the hopes that the operation’s finances will be made right once more. Travelers on the three toll roads have not as frequent as they originally had planned, so the company’s debt has continually increased.
In order to pay off the debt, the tolls’ fees will continue to be implemented to 2053 at this point. However, if the debt lessens quicker than expected, the highways could be handed over to Caltrans and would operate as free highways.
Though the board voted 12 to 1, many members were unhappy with what they had to do. Todd Spitzer, the Orange County Supervisor states, “This is a very difficult vote to swallow, because it’s changing expectations and commitments of a lot of different people.” Basically, the board is reneging on the promise that it made to motorists years ago.
Orange County tolls are among the highest in America. There was a recent increase in fees that has aided with revenue; however, the increase will soon level out and the tolls will be in no better shape. Tolls in San Joaquin have been raised at least ten times since 1996.
This vote that occurred on Thursday is momentarily disappointing to drivers; however, it may prove to better traveling and the extension may not be necessary.
No matter what highway or street on which you are driving, it is always important to drive safely. However, accidents can happen at any time to anyone. If you or someone you know has been in an accident, contact an Orange County car accident lawyer today to receive assistance in receiving the highest possible compensation for the damages that you have suffered.