Department of Transportation Bureaucrats Fail Tolling 101

Peter Samuel’s extremely valuable TOLLROADSnews brings us this gem, “FHWA Office of Highway Policy Information – sloppy & stupid”:

So under Toll Facilities, New York – and this is the only state we reviewed and we chose it randomly – they don’t have any toll facility at all listed.  Not one.

No mention of the Henry Hudson Bridge, the Tappan Zee Bridge, the Thruway, the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, Queens-Midtown Tunnel, or any toll facility as such. What they have is toll agencies and others.

They lead off with Metropolitan Trans. Auth. which certainly through its Bridges & Tunnels division operates nine toll facilities.

Further down have as a completely separate listing of another ‘Toll Facility’ and a different address: Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Auth.

There was a Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority. The famous, for some infamous, Robert Moses ruled there. It has long been absorbed into the MTA, and remains only as the legal entity under which MTA issues toll revenue bonds.

Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Auth. is not a “toll facility” nor a separate toll agency from MTA.

As Peter notes, “[a] toll facility is a road, bridge or tunnel where a toll is collected for passage.” It is not a turnpike authority, concession company, or department of transportation. It’s a “facility,” which means it refers to a very specific built environment installation — not a collection or network of installations, nor the managers of these collections or networks. I would expect the Armchair Urbanists to be confused by basic transport infrastructure terminology, but I expected better from the self-styled technocrats inside the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration. My mistake.

But the staggering level of ignorance goes further than merely confusing past and present governmental toll authorities; FHWA’s Office of Highway Policy Information doesn’t even seem to understand the “toll” part of “toll facility”:

Olympic Regional Development Auth.? Here’s what they say about themselves:

“About ORDA

The New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) was originally created by the State of New York to manage the facilities used during the 1980 Olympic Winter Games at Lake Placid. ORDA operates Whiteface Mountain ski area located in the Town of Wilmington, just 15 minutes outside the Village of Lake Placid; the Olympic Center; the Olympic Jumping Complex and Olympic Sports Complex; and Gore Mountain ski area located in North Creek, New York — 80 miles south of Lake Placid. As host to international and national championships, the Authority has brought millions of athletes and spectators to the Adirondack Region. ORDA has seen unparalleled assistance and support of its operation from both Albany and the State of New York….”

Nothing whatever to do with any toll facility!

While the ORDA’s Whiteface Mountain does list “facility rates” on their website, it should be pretty clear to even the layman of laymen that they’re not talking about tolls. Needless to say, information on “toll facilities” maintained by the Office of Highway Policy Information should be taken with a grain of salt. But, as Peter concludes, “By all means look at their stuff for laughs.” Read the whole thing here on TOLLROADSnews.