Monday, August 25, 2008

"Toll roadways are NOT the solution --- they remain part of the problem."

Ramming Toll Roads 'Down Our Throats'

Texas and Other States on the Road for Tolls


Peter Stern
Capitol Hill Blue
Copyright 2008

For Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Tom Craddick Texas will get more toll roads even if they have to kill us financially to do it.

They are trying to finance toll roads from a new, 'creative' approach in taking tax dollars and retirement funds to ensure that their special interests make a fortune from toll roads.

LINK: Perry, Dewhurst, Craddick: Boost highway funding now

The number one fact about toll roads remains that they are NOT cost-effective over time and they generate long-term debt to the state, drivers and taxpayers. Furthermore, toll roads often create other problems.

LINK: Tolls Create Gridlock

There are other reasons governments push for toll roads. Some governments throughout the world "have introduced tolls in pursuit of a general policy to increase the extent of "use related payment" or with the goal of reducing road use and internalizing the negative effects of road usage (for example, congestion related prices). This is central to a 'sustainable' transport policy. In the Netherlands tolls are levied with the express intention of directing road users to other means of transport, both to ease road traffic conditions and to encourage use of the railways and inland waterways."

LINK: World Bank Group: Toll Roads and Concessions

In addition, there is little accountability re: toll costs and revenue of the toll roads once they are built. Representative Mark Strama's (who supports toll interests) bill highlights both the concerns he cites, but also the ones he isn't mentioning.

LINK: News Release: Texas State House of Representative

Furthermore, most of the time, toll roads throughout the nation are infinite forms of taxation and costs of the tolls frequently are raised and/or manipulated by the toll management.

LINK: Fat cats taking us for a ride

Raising toll costs has occurred frequently in the past; consequently, it will happen more often with future toll roads.

LINK: Steep increases set for toll roads

The rationale for toll roads is that there is a need by governments to remove themselves from providing means of transportation. They cannot manage and operate such systems professionally as can private industry.

Government does not have an endless financial resource to continue providing transportation unless it markets or leases from private industry.

A transportation system based on a pay for use plan continues to be the mold of the future.

LINK: Courtesy of the toll road lobby think tank at the Reason Foundation

There are other methods of building roadways that must be researched which are more cost-effective. We as a nation must think "out of the box" when it comes to future transportation needs; however, currently toll roadways are NOT the solution --- they remain part of the problem.

© 2008 Capitol Hill

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