Wednesday, December 10, 2008

"Rick Perry, David Dewhurst, and Tom Craddick will get more toll roads even if they have to kill Texas taxpayers / drivers financially to do it."

Toll Roads: Do We Really Need Them?


Peter Stern
Waxahachie Daily Blog
Copyright 2008

Texas and Other States on the Road for Tolls

Here in Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, and House Speaker Tom Craddick will get more toll roads even if they have to kill Texas taxpayers / drivers 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.

This sort of "creative thinking" is a force throughout the U.S.

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.

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."

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.

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.

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

Now that the bail-outs of various financial institutions is in vogue, the government is sure to push harder for toll roads as its holding of our tax dollars dwindles — but don’t believe it!

It is another ploy along with the push to privatize various government programs and services, e.g., Social Security, Veterans Administration, Medicare and Medicaid, etc.

In truth, 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.

Peter Stern of Driftwood, Texas, a former director of information services, university professor and public school administrator, is a political writer well-known and published frequently throughout the Texas community and nationwide. He is a disabled Vietnam veteran and holds three post-graduate degrees. You may contact him at

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