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Snowguy716

Toll Roads

Toll Roads   50 members have voted

  1. 1. Should we have them?

    • Yes
      33
    • No
      10
    • Somewhere in between (explain)
      7

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56 posts in this topic

Personally, I don't think we should have toll roads. They tie up traffic (I know with technology it's better, but it STILL ties up traffic), and are kind of a cheap-shot way to raise revenue, in my opinion.

I come from a state where there are no toll roads. There is one toll lane on a business-spur (I-394) where people can pay congestion style pricing if you are alone in the vehicle and want to drive in the carpool lane. I have mixed feelings about this. But it does alleviate traffic a bit in other lanes.

I also understand that states that have tolls tend to have very high amounts of interstate commerce traffic. I think this could be solved, however, by having commercial trucks buy a permit to drive in the state each year.

Roads are a public good, used and paid for by the public. They shouldn't be private or even public enterprizes set up on a user-fee system.

I'm sure many of you have other opinions. Please share them.

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I'm by no means very informed on this issue, but I am interested in how well tolls can reduce congestion. It seems that congestion is a result of unlimited access to the public with no direct payments. When I've been stuck in a bumper to bumper traffic jam and I see that most cars are occupied by just the driver, I'm stunned at such inefficiency. Could we charge a toll high enough during rush hour to keep enough cars off the road to keep things flowing? This could be revenue neutral, where we could decrease the gas tax or other taxes that fund highways accordingly. Yeah, this would discourage some from driving during rush hour. But it would also encourage car pooling.

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I currently live in a state that has no toll roads but that looks to be changing soon. Overall I don't think people in my state like the idea of toll roads. But in my area of the state there's a been a tremendous amount of growth and the highway department simply can't keep up with demand. So the idea of toll roads are becoming more acceptable here because it's that or wait decades for the state to build it.

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Im not sure on the issue, my state has no toll roads. The only things you have to pay to drive on are a few bridges, the Ambassador, Mackinaw, and International Bridge to Canada. You also have to pay to use the tunnel under the Detroit River. As far as i know, these toll are paying to maintain the structures, so in that case i think its good. I dont really like toll roads though.

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Never been on a toll road, we only had a few in California aside from major bridges, and those that were 'real' toll roads were in SoCal 500 miles from my house. It seems like both a cheap shot for some more money, and kind of an east coast thing. Unfortunately, Texas and middle America are getting into it, too. I was just up in Chicagoland and noticed they had a few tollways which I avoided like the plague, and the awful Loop 49 they're building here around Tyler, has become a toll road as well (I'm really pissed at how it went down, too, but that's another story entirely).

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What makes it a cheap shot?

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Middle America isnt just getting into toll road building, the Ohio Turnpike has been around since the 1950s.

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A cheap-shot as in... you don't pay enough taxes already so why don't you just dig out your wallet and toss some coins in the bucket.

I just don't see a positive from toll roads.

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A cheap-shot as in... you don't pay enough taxes already so why don't you just dig out your wallet and toss some coins in the bucket.

I just don't see a positive from toll roads.

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Paying a user fee for the use of highways should be mandatory. The way they enforce that I would leave up to question, since toll plazas tend to cause major backups. We pay taxes to support highway infrastructure as well as mass transit, yet we have to pay an additional fee to use mass transit, so why shouldn't we have to pay an additional fee to use highways? It's not fair to the non-motorized public.

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I think tolls should only be used if it costs money to maintain the roads.

If roads were maintenance free, then I wouldn't see the point.

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I think maintenance is one legitimate cost to have tolls contribute to. I think another is to help finance the construction of alternative routes. For example, in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia there are two toll-free bridge-tunnel harbor crossings. There is a need for a third one. Although locally unpopular, there's an option to toll the two existing facilities to help finance the construction of the third one. IMO it's equitable in that the third crossing will provide an alternate route for drivers using the existing two routes, and that drivers who will continue to use the two existing routes will benefit from the absence of traffic that will shift to the third crossing. Those who disagree tend to argue simply that the bridge-tunnels haven't been tolled for decades and shouldn't be now. They also predict terrible traffic tie-ups at toll plazas.

IMO, the age of the toll plaza is dead, however. Advancements in toll-collection technologies in recent years have pretty much done away with the need for broad plazas requiring each vehicle to stop and make cash transactions. Technologies such as EZ-Pass full-speed Express, London's license plate readers, and an EZ-Pass-like technology being developed for the Texas Corridor are taking the time cost out of the equation when it comes to tolling.

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In Connecticut the state is debating whether to install tolls again on some state highways including I-84, I-95, Route 395 and Route 2 (not I-91 intrestingly though). Anyway CT had tolls at one point but they were taken down after a deadly accident in Strattford. One of the reasons the the state is considering them to gain revenue for the influx of people who have started heading to southeastern CT to visit the casinos (Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods).

Personally my problems with the tolls are the how they are set up in some states. For example I head to Cape Cod and Boston a lot and pick up the MassPike in Sturbridge, MA (somewhat rural) yet there are times when I have to wait 30mins in traffic just to pick up a ticket. There is no order to the way the lanes are set up ...meaning EZPASS, Exact Change, etc.

Now later on the road sometimes I have to wait 1 or 2 minutes to get into Boston or Manhattan.

And knowing CT...the tolls will be set up horrbly if they do it

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Having a connection to the inside scoops here w/the Florida Turnpike, I will say "like them or not, approve or disapprove, tolls roads are here to stay and are pretty much the wave of the future."

All new expressways built in FL will be toll roads for the foreseeable future. TX is really getting on the toll road bandwagon too. Certain roads that aren't tolled, are under consideration for tolling: I-95 in Miami-Dade to name one. Also South Carolina and North Carolina are considering tolling I-95. With these two states, you'll pay either an entrance or an exit fee at the state line. So if you are in SC for example and driving just in state, you won't pay the toll. It will be those traveling through the state into the next that will get hit up w/the toll. This is sorta the way the toll works in the State of Delaware now.

Many of these toll roads and plazas are not manned by state employees, but by independent contracted private companies. Almost all of FL's system is this way. There is talk w/the Miami-Dade proposal of making (road maintenance, toll booths)all operations fall under the control of these contracted companies, well except for law enforcement. This proposal will be interesting to watch since the same is being proposed for the SC/NC 95 tolling, if and when it occurs.

There will become less and less back-ups at the plazas as more open-road tolling occurs or even no plazas at all. This is w/the transponders. In FL they have or are in the process (think years here) of changing all the main plazas to this system. Those w/SunPass (our version of EZPass) can maintain their speed while those that must pay the toll in money will be routed to the side of the road to the booths or visa-versa. Many new exits in FL are being constructed for SunPass only exits, no transponder=no exit.

All the states w/EZPass can use them w/each state's system and soon FL's SunPass will be compatible also w/this system. So if you drive say from Jersey to Disney World or Lauderdale and need to use the FL Turnpike while here, you'll soon be able to just use your EZPass. Also with SunPass you can now use it at several of our airport parking garages to pay fees and soon many more places like arenas, stadiums etc.

So like toll roads or not, in many states, it's not going away and soon maybe the dominant way of expressway travel.

On edit: here's a shot of how open-road tolling does and will look like throughout FL. Notice that SunPass/EPass (what SunPass is known as in Orlando...long story behind this name difference) drivers do not have to stop or really slow down. This is from the eastern beltway around Orlando: FL SR 417.

300px-SR_417_University_Toll_Plaza.jpg

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In our state roads are built by private companies paid for by the state through a bidding process. Roads are maintained, however, by the government through money given to MnDOT through the general fund collected from sales and income tax revenues. This is a better system because the money used to pay for the maintenance of the roads was collected in a way sensitive to income.

You can't compare public transit fares with tolls because with the fare you are purchasing a service. You are paying a person to drive you around, the fuel to power the vehicle (that you'd pay out of pocket anyway if driving), and yes, for hte maintenence of the tracks/vehicles.

One could also argue that you are already paying for the maintenence of roads through registration and vehicle sales taxes when you purchase a vehicle. Every time you purchase gas, a portion of that money is put into building/maintaining roads as well, so you're getting hit from every angle when tolls are added.

I just don't see a positive argument for tolls.

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Do I like toll roads? No. But I also realize that there may not be a ton of choice in the matter. We like to think that in this country our taxes are much lower. The fact is that the costs aren't any lower here then they are anywhere else - we simply have a different way of paying them. Instead of paying more in taxes, we pay directly at each and every point. If you don't think we should have toll roads, then would you be willing to pay that much higher taxes?

I don't like how some states are going toll happy. That is more a pocket-filling scam than anything else. I support tolls on major roads, that are intended to serve major convenience routes and need that extra money to build, be kept up, and be efficient.

Oh, and if you think tolls help traffic, just take a look at the Mass Turnpike.

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Paying a user fee for the use of highways should be mandatory. The way they enforce that I would leave up to question, since toll plazas tend to cause major backups. We pay taxes to support highway infrastructure as well as mass transit, yet we have to pay an additional fee to use mass transit, so why shouldn't we have to pay an additional fee to use highways? It's not fair to the non-motorized public.

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I wanted to add that don't care if tolls cause bad traffic. If traffic is so bad...get out of your car. Noone is forcing anyone...regardless of what people claim...to drive their automobiles. They drive because they want to.

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In Connecticut the state is debating whether to install tolls again on some state highways including I-84, I-95, Route 395 and Route 2 (not I-91 intrestingly though). Anyway CT had tolls at one point but they were taken down after a deadly accident in Strattford. One of the reasons the the state is considering them to gain revenue for the influx of people who have started heading to southeastern CT to visit the casinos (Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods).

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I don't think we need a toll on I-395, if you want money from the casino patrons, toll the Mohegan Exit and Route 2 Near Foxwoods, traffic on 395 isn't bad.

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I wanted to add that don't care if tolls cause bad traffic. If traffic is so bad...get out of your car. Noone is forcing anyone...regardless of what people claim...to drive their automobiles. They drive because they want to.

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I have many disparate feelings on tolls:

Backround...

- In Ontario, the gov't spent $100 Billion in holding fees, etc. to hold the land for Hwy. 407, a highway that was to be built in the 60's and 70's parallelling the famed Hwy. 401. After 30 years of doing nothing with it (they instead focussed on expanding the 401), they built approx. 70% of the current 407's length in the '90s (I do not know the construction costs for it, but I suspect probably $3-5 Billion). Before it opened, the gov't then sold the highway on a 99-year lease for $3 Billion. Yes, 3 Billion (97 Billion Loss).

- The highway is now owned by a company which tolls at 18 CDN cents/km (25 USD cents/mile).

- The highway was built quite north of the 401 and so really is not a replacement but instead is a regional route of its own, and so many places it is simply better to take the highway than the 401 even with the high costs, esp. where time conservation is a concern.

- The average Toronto (GTA) commute during rush-hour is 80 minutes, as most of us have at least one car per household and the GTA is so large. This means that any extra route is a blessing.

- The 407 has high volumes and has traffic jams of its own.

- My average daily trip (if I were to take it daily) is $6.00 CDN one-way.

- Tolls go up about 1.5 cents/km every year.

Despite this..

- The 407 is a better route to many places: It's faster, less stressful, fewer lane changes are required along the route, all the interchanges are built with the same configuration, and there are no real alternate routes (that don't take twice as long).

- Time Saving vs. 401: Within Toronto, not so much unless traffic on 401 is extremely heavy to stopped. Living in North Toronto, having to go north (or coming from the north) at some point during my route, it just doesn't make sense to use anything else.

- Time Saving in General: I used to travel 40 mins. to University from Aurora (northern GTA) to just inside the Toronto border at York University. Once I started using the 407 for a duration of only ONE EXIT (2 or 3 km) I saved 15 minutes from my journey.

- You can see the difference that the tolls make: In less than one year they expanded 45% of its length by 1-2 lanes. Travel in these areas is now a dream (for a year or so at least ;)).

- The 407 is the 'most modern toll route in North America': There are no toll booths, there are no delays. A metal structure (similar to that of a highway sign that spans above a highway) is at each entrance and exit post which contains computer and photographic equipment. As you pass through it on the exitramp, your car's transponder sends (or receives) a signal from the overhang to register your entrance, and then when you exit, the same thing happens to record your exit. If you do not have a transponder, you wouldn't even know you were on a toll road until you got the bill. When you don't have a transponder, your plate is photographed and a bill is sent to you in the mail. I am not certain the nitty-gritty, but it sounds similar to ez-pass in the US however wherever I've seen ez-pass in upstate New York and in Massachusetts, where cars still need to slow down and navigate through a lane reallignment of some kind. For more info, see http://www.407etr.com/.

Separate from the 407...

In a case where you have one road and plan to toll it in order to build another one, that is fine... however what happens when the new one is built? Does it get tolled too? Isn't it easier to toll it since the public have already accepted the first road being tolled? The issue comes up periodically here where with the 'success' of the 407 and the urgent need for more and more highways and bypasses that we toll any new highways built. With the 407 built, despite the issues that come up with annual raising tolls, there is clearly less opposition to tolling new roads, esp. in the GTA, otherwise the 407 wouldn't have 200,000 average daily traffic. Once you open the door.....

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Hike West Virginia Tpk. tolls, transfer Tamarack to specialized entity

Study: Hike turnpike tolls, cut Tamarack funding

I am in full support of the Tamarack, which offers a wide variety of arts and crafts from artisans that otherwise would have limited publicity. It is located at the Beckley Service Area along the West Virginia Turnpike in a unique structure. Some called for the Tamarack to be closed since it is a 'money-loser', however, it plays an integral part of the tourism industry to which other states have modeled their artisan centers after (e.g. Kentucky). The study recommends it be moved to a more specialized agency which may produce more benefits in the long-run. From the Wikipedia article I authored,

The Tamarack is a tourist destination located at the Beckley service area of the West Virginia Turnpike that features a red peaked roof and landscaped grounds that draw over 500,000 visitors annually [1]. It is a large arts and crafts outlet that features West Virginia crafted products, such as handcrafts, pottery, jewelery and fine arts, and products made from textiles, glass, metal, wood. There are live artisan demonstrations as well as live music, a theater, and storytelling performances. The food court features signature dining options from the Greenbrier Hotel. There are six resident artists on-site who give demonstrations throughout the day, and Tamarack boasts a 178-seat theatre for live musical, theater, dance and storytelling performances. The complex also boasts a conference center.

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I wanted to add that don't care if tolls cause bad traffic. If traffic is so bad...get out of your car. Noone is forcing anyone...regardless of what people claim...to drive their automobiles. They drive because they want to.

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