Thursday, March 08, 2007

"Do the Math"


Letters: Driver's-eye view of toll roads

March 8, 2007

A lousy idea only government could love

Re: "Roads Toll for Thee – Cintra-121 deal a key part of commute solution," Sunday Editorials.

Toll roads are an idea so silly and wasteful that only government would embrace them. They cost more to build and operate than a conventional expressway and, due to their size, are twice as ugly.

It's never a good idea to overpay for anything, including something as mundane as roads, notwithstanding all the official gibberish that those who use them should pay for them. Fine. Then make all roads toll roads.

The only prudent method to pay for roads is through a gas tax; the more we drive, the more gas we use and the more tax we pay. The system works unless fraud or incompetence breaks it. Tolls are egregious gas taxes foisted on the unfortunate few who happen to live near one of Texas' tiny number of toll roads.

Now, we see a foreign corporation seize an opportunity to capitalize on government bungling by transforming a toll road into a golden goose. I'm not surprised that The Dallas Morning News embraces this as a good thing – but future motorists will rue the day that our so-called leaders gave foreign business the right to levy and collect taxes on Texans.

Ed Watkins, Plano

Do the math of tolls vs. a higher gasoline tax

At the recent Senate hearings in Austin, one person's testimony pointed out these facts: The toll for a car getting 30 mpg would be approximately 15 cents per mile, which would cost $4.50 to drive 30 miles. With gas at $2.25 per gallon, add the $4.50 for tolls to drive 30 miles. That comes to $6.75 per gallon.

During the 50-year leases, the tolls would increase these numbers dramatically. If the 20-cent per gallon state gas tax were increased by 2,000 percent, the cost of the same trip would add $4 a gallon. Using the same base of $2.25 per gallon, a gallon of gas would go up to $6.25.

The legislators aren't talking about increasing the state gas tax by anything near 2,000 percent. Raise the gas tax a reasonable amount and index it for inflation!

The public-private partnership is becoming increasingly unpopular. We would do better with the state collecting the tolls, rather than private investors. That would give the people of Texas some control over their economic future.

Elaine C. Lee, Farmersville

© 2007 The Dallas Morning News Co

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