Random ramblings of a mind damaged by years of disuse and abuse. Also a place to go to be bored to tears.
The Random Cartoon
Words to live by...
"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."
(The right to looseness has been officially given)
By the way... there's a crossword at the bottom of this page
Monday, June 11, 2012
Still peeved... of course
I am still a bit peeved over the toll violation letter I received a few weeks ago. I keep re-reading it, keep re-visiting it, keep getting angry about it. I shouldn't, I know. I should sit peacefully in the Lotus position, thumbtips to index fingertips, chant "om", and let it drift away from my mind in peace and contentment. Well, I can't do that... and not just because I couldn't get up afterwards either.
This is what I re-visit: The Katy Managed Lanes is a project of the Texas Department of Transportation and the Houston Metropolitan Transit Authority. It is operated by the Harris County Toll Road Authority (HCTRA). The KML consist of four lanes (two eastbound and two westbound) located in the center of the I-10 Katy Freeway. The two outer lanes are toll lanes. During posted hours the two inner lanes (one eastbound and one westbound) are High Occupancy Vehicles (HOV) lanes. The posted times are 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday - Friday. At all other times (including weekends) the two inner lanes are toll lanes. That was not in the toll violation letter, it was in the email I received after contacting HCTRA about the toll violation. The letter had no explanation of how the tolls/lanes worked.
My experience with HOV/Toll lanes is limited to southern California and southeast Florida. To be fair, the southeast Florida HOV are not toll lanes at any time (or weren't the last time I was in the area). These all reverted to open use by anyone outside of the normal rush hours and were posted that way. Not so for the Houston area (and perhaps elsewhere in Texas). Outside of normal rush hour, these lanes become toll only. That is, one must pay for the privilege of using them. And one can only do that by establishing an EZTAG account after which you get a barcode decal to affix to your vehicle which is then read by strategically placed scanners over the lanes and the toll is charged against your account.
Not knowing the rules cost me a fine of $34. The signs do not actually explain how these lanes work. They couldn't, you would have to stop your car to read them if they did. It's just too complex.
I found some interesting reading on the Katy lanes here as I did a Google search about them. Curiously, I didn't find a lot of complaints about how they operate.
Nor did I find anything which explained how they were paid for and where the funds come from to pay for maintaining them. Did (and does) that money come from the general funds for highways? Or are the tolls and fines the only method?
I did find this:
Where does the money go that is collected on the Managed Lanes?
The tolls collected from the Katy Managed Lanes—and all HCTRA-managed toll roads—go right back into Harris County and help manage and maintain our system of roadways, as well as help fund the upkeep of other county roads.