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Per-mile costs on the same toll road can vary greatly

Q. How is it the Transportation Corridor Agencies can charge way more per mile to travel the 1.5 miles on the 241 from Alton Parkway in Lake Forest to Portola Parkway in Irvine than it does to travel a longer stretch? If the purpose of a toll is to offset the expense to construct and to maintain the segment of highway that you’re driving on, then shouldn’t the toll be somewhat proportional to the distance traveled?

– Jon Poole, Lake Forest

A. Well, Jon, officials who operate those toll roads don’t think so.

Kim Mohr, a spokeswoman for the Transportation Corridor Agencies, which operates the 241, 73, 133 and 261 toll roads in Orange County, said tolls have been based on various factors, including “the value in travel-time savings,” the cost to build the roadways (with stretches on even the same toll road differing) and the demand.

“Best practices implemented by most urban toll facilities across the country, including the Transportation Corridor Agencies, do not call for toll rates to be set on a strict per-mile basis,” she told Honk in an email.

Further, she said, going to electronic toll collection a few years ago, instead of deploying staffed booths, and refinancing has helped keep tolls lower, with small increases tied to inflation.

By the way, Honk has a recommendation: Before hitting the road, use Waze to compare travel times taking a toll road versus not driving it to see if the toll is worth it.

A. Hello Honk: I am a 69-year-old Vietnam veteran and I’d like to know how to have my California driver’s license show this.

– Tom Lyon, Buena Park

Q. To get you some love on your license (or on a DMV-issued ID), Tom, with “VETERAN” near the bottom bordered by a red line on top and a blue one beneath the designation, takes some work.

Go to the DMV’s website and complete an application for a new license or ID.

Then dust off your DD 214, the military discharge certificate, and take it to a county Veteran Service Office, where you can get a Veteran Status Verification Form (Call an office first: Some accept walk-ins, some require appointments and others only meet with people online).

The last leg of this journey is taking the completed veteran’s form to a DMV office. Expect a one-time $5 fee for the designation and a fee for a new license.

To avoid that new-license fee, wait until you need to renew your license to get the veteran designation, first given to California veterans a half-dozen years ago.

Thora Chaves, a public information officer with the California Department of Veterans Affairs, said veteran reservists also may be able to get “VETERAN” on their licenses if they served on active duty and received an honorable discharged or a general discharge “under honorable conditions.”

One benefit of updating your license is a restaurant, a fair, a store or other outfit might give you a financial break for your sacrifice.

And Tom, Honk thanks you – very much – for your service to our country.

Honkin’ update: Because of incorrect information given to Honk, last week’s column wrongly said a motorist could not see online if his or her address had been updated by the DMV. He was later told the public can indeed see if an online update of an address was accepted.

To ask Honk questions, reach him at He only answers those that are published. To see Honk online: Twitter: @OCRegisterHonk

Source: Orange County Register

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