Sunday, July 24, 2005

"Reminds me of the argument that the lotto would go toward paying for schools."

Letters to the Editor

Tolls a license to extort


San Antonio Express-News
Copyright 2005

Toll roads, either state or private, are little more than a license to extort money from the public.

My first experience with toll roads was in the '70s when I was assigned to a major joint command in Washington and had to travel to Bayonne, N.J. All non-toll routes to Bayonne were cut or diverted, leaving the only practical route a toll road. Imagine my indignation when the military refused to reimburse my toll road expense.

That was then. Recently I returned from a road trip to Washington, then to Chicago and back to San Antonio. Memories of "free road travel" from D.C. to Chicago were destroyed as captivating toll roads slowly invaded and sucked dry my wallet.

Forget the exorbitant toll fees. Private gas and food shops along those toll roads have somehow gained exclusive rights to your pocket and are not shy about taking advantage of your "needs" with their price markups. Sure, gas is high, but plan on spending 10 to 20 cents a gallon more on a toll road, and for the price of a bad hamburger, you could buy a steak in Texas.

And the argument of toll fees going to keep up the roads? Reminds me of the argument that the lotto would go toward paying for schools. Forget it!

Over the years, I have found the old-fashioned adage of keeping the government out of your pocket a good policy that requires old-fashioned common sense, which, as time travels on, tends to be harder to find.

— J.V. Cowan

© 2005 San Antonio Express-News: