January 15, 2009

Tollway traffic down in Centex

Oh, Jesus H. Christ, Ben. This is a short term blip based on a temporary recession. This was the funny part

Aside from any financial troubles existing roads might experience, does this tepid revenue mean that toll authorities in Austin might have trouble securing loans for the five other roads approved last year?

"I don't think so," said Michael Walton , who holds the Ernest H. Cockrell chair in engineering at the University of Texas and is a transportation consultant. "I don't believe it's a significant long-term problem because we're in the early stages of development on those roads. As they become more of the economic fabric, then utilization will continue to grow."

We ALL acknowledge we need roads and people are using the tollways. Granted not as much as the rosy projections may have led investors in the bonds to believe, but they are using them and that will increase over time. BECAUSE THEY ARE THE ONLY OPTION. The IB's LOVE these deals and they aren't going away any time soon, even if they have to be put on the backburner for a while due to the credit contraction. After all, where else can Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley get a government guaranteed high yield return? Certainly not in Treasuries.

What Ben missed, again, was the central issue : How do we pay for the infrastructure we need? The argument has ALWAYS been about funding our infrastructure. Do we want tolls that soak a relative few or gas taxes that are affordable by many and more evenly distribute the cost of infrastructure to ALL beneficiaries of improved infrastructure?

Some will tell you that it's unfair for the people in the central city to pay for infrastructure for rich suburbanites. You'll have to forgive them for not knowing that the average home sales prices in suburban counties are usually lower than those in the cities and that people live out there because it's what they can afford. Some of them, just FYI, don't even come into the city, while those in the city frequently drive out there (I'm one of them). Others will bitch and moan about congestion pricing as if it's some kind of panacea that will make traffic go away. Which it won't. It certainly hasn't improved the 405 in OC which, despite all the bullshit flying around in Austin, is still clogged like a fat guy's arteries.

Frankly, I'm sick of the fucking debate and ready to let you poor people sit in goddamn traffic while I enjoy the Lexus lane. It's clear to me you're too goddamn stupid to get that you're voting against your own self-interest. It's also obvious that a lot of Democrats are in love with public private partnerships that are really more about government backstopping the losses of private investors who, in effect, put nothing at risk. Some of you electeds are so dazzled by the bankers from Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley that you're oblivious to the fact that these folks, though they did better than the people at Bear Stearns and Lehman, are only around because of the Government. They aren't wizards or geniuses. In fact, many of them were about two weeks from being bankrupt and unemployed.

Posted by mcblogger at January 15, 2009 08:49 AM

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