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Monday, October 03, 2011

Back When Everything Made Sense ...

... expressways were express (i.e., "without unnecessary stops) ways.  Now the interstate highway system is a target for toll (i.e., tax) collectors.  Everywhere.  And lots of 'em.

How'd that happen?

Dwight Eisenhower must be rolling over in his grave.

For an interesting take on the trend that's taking place nationwide and here in the Commonwealth to put roadblocks (i.e., toll booths) up and down every freaking highway in the land, see "Legislators love to love tolls from afar," by Christina Nuckols, in today's Roanoke Times.

This seems fair to me:
I don't disagree that the state and nation need to think about new ways to fund new highway construction, bridge repairs, passenger rail and mass transit. But I don't hear General Assembly candidates floating any new ideas. Unless they're prepared to vote for an increase in the sales tax, a higher levy on new vehicles or some other revenue source, they should be prepared to Adopt a Toll Booth in their districts. I'm still waiting for suggestions.
This will come as a shock, but I - an extreme right-winger - favor taxation to pay for road and bridge construction and repair. It's one of the things We the People have actually charged our government(s) with doing (it's in that "promote the general welfare" thingie and in Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of the Constitution), and we therefore need to pony up.

But tolls on expressways highways with intermittent roadblocks (that foster an unnecessary wasting of fuel and contribute to global warming, ahem) ain't the answer.

Politicians are big on toll roads for one reason: Out-of-staters have to pay when they make the mistake of passing through. It's like a tariff on imported goods. Or a tax on the rich. We're all in for it if someone else is getting screwed.

Personally, I think toll booths on interstate highways should be banned. Nationwide. And the gas tax or sales tax should be adjusted to accommodate demands for road improvements. That considering that we eliminate a host of needless government expenditures first. Which we'll save for another day.

Here's to Christina Nuckols for writing a cogent and thought-provoking column.

Must have been off her meds that day.