First, the town of Huntsville apparently has been toying with the idea of a toll road leading to Cemetery point. Isn't it already a toll road, you ask? Actually, it is, but here is the deal.
American Land and Leisure is the concessionaire of the Forest Service concessions at various locations around Pineview. AL&L places their tollbooth on Huntsville's road and charges entrants some $10 per vehicle to pay their staff and add to their bottom line. In a good year, upwards of 30,000 vehicles, many pulling heavy trailers, travel the mile or so down First street - you do the math. AL&L collects the money and Huntsville says they get nothing except for well traveled roads and a lot of weekend riffraff.
Apparently Huntsville has tried to get assistance from AL&L and the Forest Service but now feel a second, town operated toll booth is the only answer.
Huntsville says second tollbooth only solution
From the article:
Mayor Jim Truett said the traffic from summer recreationists is damaging the road and Huntsville doesn’t have money to pay for repairs. “We’re stuck between a rock and a hard spot,” he said. The road has been a problem for years, he said, and is getting to the point where the town has to take action.We will interject with 30,000 vehicles traveling to Cemetery Point vs. the vehicles operated by Huntsville residents. With only about 250 homes in the town, most residents never even drive on first street.
Councilman Max Ferre said that in a good year the road sees more than 30,000 trucks and boats, which the town says are the major cause of wear and tear on the road and a danger to residents. However, AL&L Vice Presi dent Steve Werner said the road is no worse than others in the town.
“I can empathize with their situation. There are a lot of folks who travel there through the summer, but I don’t think First Street is any worse off than other streets, so it’s hard to fully accept responsibility for the damage to that road,” he said.
He said the damage appears to be caused by normal freeze-and-thaw and winter plowing.
(Mayor)Truett said the council has asked for help from the Forest Service and AL&L, and the best plan is to add $2 to the toll AL&L charges, to go to a First Street perpetual road fund.It sounds like an old fashioned stand off to us. We will be eagerly watching for construction of a new booth - in the mean time, we will be launching our boat at Port Ramp come Memorial day weekend.
He said AL&L has rejected that plan, though, so the town is ready to create its own toll booth, which would charge $3, with the extra dollar going toward paying the booth operator. He said the booth would be operational when Cemetery Point opens.
Werner said AL&L could not donate money to the city, and is still checking to see whether the Forest Service would approve collecting $2 for Huntsville.
While he understands why the town feels it has to make this move, Werner said it will have a detrimental effect on AL&L.
“We feel it’s pretty unprecedented to have a city collect a fee to go over their land to go to national forest land,” he said. “We’ve never had that before.”
Who will be the first to comment?
UPDATE: 4/1/10 @ 1:45 pm
The Standard Editorial board weighed in on the issue with this:
No to extra toll booth
And don't miss this Grondahl masterpiece.