Toll Roads, similar to ticket cameras, are another way for governments to cover up their inept budgeting skills by the taxation of movement.
They are arguably the most powerful weapon in the “War On Driving” because the toll systems can be used to charge for the privilege of using roads which have already been paid for by tax money, issue speeding citations and even charge a “miles driven” tax.
Occasionally, Toll Roads are actually 100% financed by the companies that operate them, including the cost of original construction, but that’s the rare exception.
Usually, greedy politicians sell off publicly funded and built highways, bridges and tunnels to private and typically foreign companies. Those companies then begin charging usury fees for motorists to drive on or through roads and passages that their tax dollars have already paid for.
The latest national news on Toll Roads from USA Today:
Drivers paying more tolls to use roads, bridges
ATLANTA – Drivers across the USA are digging deeper into their pockets as more states and communities raise tolls or impose them for the first time to build and repair highways, bridges and tunnels.
This year, California, Washington, Texas and Indiana moved to make it easier to collect tolls on state and local roads, according to Alice Wheet, a transportation research assistant at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Other states are raising tolls while others move to add or expand toll lanes on interstates.
Among the recent efforts:
•California and Washington authorized high-occcupancy toll (HOT) lanes, where tolls rise or fall depending on traffic flow. Texas enacted laws authorizing private toll roads and allowing regional authorities to collect tolls. Indiana removed a provision requiring legislative approval for toll roads.
•Some Maryland tolls will double this year as the state seeks money to rehabilitate aging roads, bridges and tunnels.
The use of tolls on interstate highways also is spreading:
•Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican, just won approval from the Federal Highway Administration to add tolls on Interstate 95 in his state. The state estimates that tolls on the heavily traveled corridor could generate $250 million over the first five years for expanding, improving and maintaining the highway.
•New York and New Jersey recently announced that E-ZPass commuters will pay $1.50 more and cash customers $2 more to cross bridges and tunnels between the two states.
•Georgia just created toll lanes on Interstate 85 in suburban Atlanta.
The toll hikes are more than chump change: Cash tolls on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge jumped to $4 from $2.50, and to $12 from $8 on all the New York-New Jersey Hudson River crossings.
The trend reflects tough economic times and growing uncertainty in state capitols about the future of federal road money. Congress has repeatedly delayed approval of a multiyear funding bill for highway projects.
The tolling also highlights the intensifying national debate over how the USA should pay to maintain and improve highways, bridges and tunnels — the federal fuel tax, tolls or something else, such as public-private partnerships. The federal gas tax, 18.4 cents a gallon, has not been raised since 1993; more fuel-efficient vehicles have worsened the funding shortage.
“That puts state departments of transportation in a real terrible bind,” says Robert Poole, transportation director of the Libertarian Reason Foundation and a supporter of tolls. “Tolling, if it can be publicly accepted and legally done, offers the potential to manage, rebuild and maintain roads.”
Bill Graves, president of the American Trucking Associations, says tolling is not the best way to pay for transportation and the federal gas tax should be raised. “A toll is a tax,” he says. “… Politicians are suggesting that we ought to pay tolls in order to allow them to avoid making politically tough decisions, which is to support a fuel tax increase.”