According to a KFOX report, the Cesar Chavez Express Toll Lanes are not making enough revenue to cover their costs. For the first 2 months of 2016, the toll lanes brought in $156,356 in revenue but cost $1,136,576 in expenses; that’s a loss of $980,220!
Raymond Telles, with the Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority, states that the toll lanes are actually doing BETTER than expected: “Not only are we making more than were projecting, but we are spending less than we were projecting.” He also stated that this project was never meant to be a stand-alone project and, therefore, won’t make money. Rep. Joe Pickett, on the other hand, feels like this data is concerning and that the lanes should be removed. His argument is that, since no money was borrowed to create the lanes, there is no debt currently associated with them. However, if the lanes continue to operate at a loss, then that could lead to debt.
Ultimately, according to Rep. Pickett, “it is up to El Pasoans to make it happen.” But, which El Pasoans, exactly, is that up to? Other than saying that the Toll Lanes could become a burden, Rep. Joe Pickett doesn’t seem to be doing anything about them and, instead has punted the issue to the nebulous “the El Pasoans’. Shouldn’t some of our City Elected officials be working on this? Wouldn’t they be the ones to bring this up and start the discussion? If, in fact this is an issue that the city should be dealing with, shouldn’t Rep. Pickett being discussing this with the City’s elected officials instead of just the news outlets? The sad truth is, nobody is going to do anything about this until it is too far gone and very far in debt.