Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Mobile River Bridge Plan is Fatally Flawed: Reason 14

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 14: A tolling regime that does not account for peak demand artificially reduces potential revenue while failing to signal actual trip cost to consumers.

Basis: The proposed tolling plan does not foresee imposing a variable toll rate based on time of day, day of week or season. Imposing a higher toll on a trip taken during peak demand periods leaves a great deal of toll revenues on the table. For example, Friday afternoons between 4:00pm and 6:00pm would generate a significant increase in toll revenue, creating an opportunity to reduce tolls on non-peak travel and consequently reducing the potential impact to the local consumer budget.

Peak load pricing is a common subject in the study of consumer behavior. If a consumer knows that he will pay more for a good or service during peak times, he is likely to alter the timing of his consumption to the point where value lost from off peak consumption is roughly the same as value gained from peak consumption.

A broad array of peak and off-peak toll regimes should be considered, and the ones generating the greatest net revenue with the least local consumer budget should be highlighted, discussed and compared.

Without resolution, this issue could halt finalization of the SDEIS.


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