Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Houston - As Westpark tolls rise, so do tempers

Drivers up in arms after officials double the fee at peak hours to ease congestion

Harris County Commissioners Court's decision Tuesday to fight congestion on the three-year-old Westpark Tollway by forcing some drivers off the road with higher rush-hour fees drew the ire of cash-strapped commuters.

And a dismissive response from Commissioner Steve Radack — "Let them go down Richmond Road" — made the new $2.50 tolls even less palatable for some.

Commuter Vic Stewart, in an e-mail, said of the Commissioners Court, "And 'Let them eat cake!' They'll certainly have time."

Commissioners Court voted unanimously to hike fees to $2.50 from 6-9 a.m. and 4-7 p.m., hoping fewer drivers will use the tollway.

The court, also in a unanimous vote, raised fees by 25 cents on all county toll roads. The increases will go into effect in September.

With the toll roads already known among some area residents as "Lexus Lanes," the new prices left some drivers wondering whether the court has forgotten about working people.


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