Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Mobile River Bridge Plan is Fatally Flawed: Reason 17

I submitted an independent review of the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) to the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) on July 10, 2019. As of this writing, ALDOT has not acknowledged receipt of my report, containing 19 specific issues with the project's decision document. The SDEIS is the most important document pertaining to the project. The bridge and bayway replacement cannot go forward without it.

The document is fatally flawed.

Since ALDOT has neither publicly nor even privately acknowledged that they are aware of these 19 specific problems with their decision document, I am sharing them with you, one at a time.

Note: Comments 12-19 are all about the Traffic & Revenue Study, which is the key to how the toll structure was developed. This is Economics 205 level stuff.

Comment 17: Toll price elasticity of demand is treated improperly.

Basis: Chapter 10 of the study discusses drivers’ sensitivity to toll price only theoretically and uses assumptions rather than empirical data. There is extensive literature on price elasticities and studies conducted on tolled thoroughfares from around the country. Little of this information was used in this study, if any. It is inexcusable to simply make assumptions based on a review of internally produced synthetic data.

The study then comes up with the conclusion that travel demand is price inelastic. This conclusion is based on supposition rather than observation of actual consumer behavior.

Without resolution, this issue is unlikely to halt finalization of the SDEIS.


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