Transportation Policy

Conservatives Should Embrace Obama's Plan For Tolls to Rebuild Interstate Highways

The president's plan would actually give states more control, tap the private sector's capital, and move the country closer to the Tea Party's user-pays principles.

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Obama with wheels
White House/Flickr

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx says the Highway Trust Fund is going to run out of money in August, and President Barack Obama is spending this week pushing his infrastructure plans. If Congress doesn't come up with the money to patch the shortfall, many states will likely start cutting back transportation projects, so the looming deadline is prompting an embarrassment of gimmicks and bad ideas.

House Democrats are dreaming of replacing the gas tax with a larger per-barrel tax on oil companies. House Republicans want to violate their own Budget Control Act rules to use 10 years of projected savings from a rag-bag of cuts in unrelated programs to pay for one year of highway funding. And Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) recently proposed raising the federal gas tax, which is a political non-starter in an election year.

Congress is likely to pass a short-term fix that addresses none of the structural issues. And while there are a lot of things to disagree with in the president's transportation plans, the most sensible long-term solution for the Interstate Highway System is actually coming from the Obama administration, which is calling for allowing states to use toll revenue to finance the reconstruction of aging Interstate highways.

Most conservatives claim to support principles like privatization, market pricing, and devolving functions from Washington, D.C. to the states, but apparently not in this case. Everyone from prominent law professor and Instapundit blogger Glenn Reynolds to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to The Washington Times opposes giving states the freedom to toll Interstates, which is currently banned by federal law. They fear it will result in the federal government "tracking" drivers via "government-mandated GPS" and argue Interstate highways have "already been paid for" by gas taxes, so tolling is unnecessary. Neither of which is true.

In fact, only the initial costs of building the Interstates, plus some ongoing maintenance, have been paid for by fuel taxes. Like most major highways, the Interstates were designed for a 50-year pavement life, after which they must be reconstructed (i.e., replaced). Many Interstates are already more than 50-years-old, and nearly all will reach that age over the next two decades.

In a Reason Foundation study last year, I estimated the cost of Interstate reconstruction and selective widening in bottlenecked areas at just under $1 trillion. Some think that number is too low, and there is no identified funding source for a set of highway mega-projects with that price tag. Even if the per gallon fuel tax is raised, its revenues will keep shrinking over the next two decades thanks to federal fuel-economy standards and the growth of non-petroleum-fueled cars.

The toll-financing approach would be feasible for all but a handful of states, with toll revenues capable of exceeding construction and maintenance costs. Tolls should replace gas taxes on Interstates, be limited to what's needed for the capital and operating costs of the rebuilt Interstates, and be implemented only after an Interstate has been rebuilt and modernized. All tolling would be done via state-of-the-art all-electronic tolling, with no toll booths needed.

This kind of project is tailor-made for private capital investment under long-term public-private partnerships. States would have companies compete for long-term contracts to finance, build, operate, and maintain specific Interstates. America already has about a dozen major toll road and bridge-replacement projects under way using this method, and its success is well proven in Europe, Australia, and Canada.

By using today's transponder-based all-electronic tolling systems like EZPass, the cost of toll collection could be kept to about 5 percent of the revenue and there would be no need for GPS boxes in vehicles.

Many conservatives are leery of this concept, especially given President Obama's endorsement, but they should support it for several reasons. First, it would be a large (and do-able) first step toward devolving the overextended federal transportation program to the states. Second, it would begin replacing a wasteful gas tax system with a true user fee, under which you pay only for the highways you drive on. Third, it would mobilize private capital for major projects that would otherwise be put off for decades, while the Interstates further deteriorate and become more congested. And, finally, it would allow using congestion pricing on urban Interstates, which would bring relief to long-suffering commuters and express buses.

The Interstate highway system is one of our most important 20th century accomplishments. It handles 25 percent of all vehicle miles of travel despite making up just 2.5 percent of physical highway lane miles. But unless we figure out a way to rebuild and modernize it soon, travel, trade, and the economy will be seriously constrained in coming decades. The status quo will not get the job done. But a customer-friendly approach via 21st century toll financing will.

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196 responses to “Conservatives Should Embrace Obama's Plan For Tolls to Rebuild Interstate Highways

  1. The gasoline tax basically is a user pays plan, if they would stop raiding it to fund their pet mass transit projects.

    1. Except for those who have hybrids or full EV vehicles.

      1. There might come a day when this makes enough of a difference to worry about, bit it isn’t yet.

        1. When all cars are propelled by perpetual motion machines raise the tire tax to pay for roadz.

        2. With more fuel efficient cars and hybrids plus people driving less, gas tax revenues are hurting already.

          One story: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/…..wners.html

          1. And this will always happen. It’s basic.

            If the government wants to have enough revenue to provide services, then it needs to provide those services. When it robs the fund to pay for unrelated projects and neglects its mandate and then raises taxes, people will increasingly avoid those unwarranted taxes.

            The whole problem stems from the failure of fedgov to provide the expected service for the money they take.

    2. They can talk to me about charging me even more to use the roads, when the money they take from me now is used for, you know, roads.

      Not bike paths, trolleys, commuter trains, high-speed rail, and all that other shit.

      1. Totally with you on that. The federal government needs to get out of the interstate highway business anyway (and bike path/hiking trail/local sidewalk businesses too). Our high speed interstate transportation system has been taken over by any town near it, they use it as a local road to shift that cost off to the feds. Give every mile to the states, get rid of the transportation department, quit collecting the taxes, the states will come out ahead.

    3. Tolls align much more closely to the principle of user pays than the gasoline tax does. As it stands now, the money someone pays in gasoline taxes goes to fund the Interstate Highway System whether he or she actually uses it or not. Personally, I use an Interstate three or four times per year, but I fill up my car every two weeks or so. Based on this usage disparity, it seem to me that I’m subsidizing those who use the system the most.

      1. Get rid of the Federal gas tax and have the State and Local government gas tax to pay for all roads including the Interstate

        1. Agreed, great idea. On that note, the federal income tax should be collected by the states and the federal government should have to ask (beg) for the states to give it money. In such a scenario, wasteful spending, wars, etc. become less frequent as states refuse to give up money for pointless adventurism.

          The federal government shouldn’t be doing anything except defense AND ACTUALLY it shouldn’t be doing that. The defensive armies should be state and local militia, only our offensive forces should be federal.

  2. “Tolls should replace gas taxes on Interstates, be limited to what’s needed for the capital and operating costs of the rebuilt Interstates, and be implemented only after an Interstate has been rebuilt and modernized.”

    And you seriously expect THAT to happen?!!

    1. And unicorns should fart rainbows and everyone will live in harmony!

    2. And you seriously expect THAT to happen?!!

      ^This.

      The Port Authority of NY and NJ is really a criminal organization masquerading as a public service. Give the states the power to tax via tolls and the abuse will be endless.

      1. What, do you just want them terrorists sailing right into the east river unprotected? Well??!?!

      2. You are so on the money they really are a bunch of crooks with the amount of money that the tbta takes in why are our roads falling apart? I make a round trip from nyc to nj once a week to pick up my son and it’s absurdly expensive I can’t imagine having to do that 5 days a week.

        1. No shit. I went to Long Island and back from NJ yesterday. $28 in tolls. It’s absurd.

    3. and if tolls replace the gas taxes, what happens to the gas taxes? We know they won’t be lowered or eliminated. What then? His system is to create a new tax because it will be better than the old one.

      1. This is just a shot in the dark, but gas tax revenues will probably be shunted towards development of these really cool cylindrical solar panels I’ve been hearing about. 😛

    4. No kidding. I drive a 4×4 so the highways can all turn to dirt roads for all I care. Don’t ever give them another way to tax us please.

  3. Replace a tax with a toll?

    Replace a tax?

    Haaaaaaaaaaa ha ha ha ha ha!

    Replace.

    That’s funny!

    Replace.

    That’s great.

    Some people will believe anything.

    Replace.

    Yeah.

    Right.

    1. If the Obama administration is serious about this proposal, I have to ask what the catch is.

      1. They’ll repeal the gas tax when you get to keep your doctor.

        1. ding ding ding

      2. The catch is that money is for DHS Checkpoints that have already been site-planned and designed

        ***Plans for a Permanent Checkpoint*** (“like a toll booth”)

        “Documents turned over to the ACLU-VT by the government show tha DHS has conducted detailed site surveys of places on I-89 and I-91 to build an eight-acre facility straddling the highway, operating year round, with “[t]he operational intent ? to divert all traffic from the interstate for screening,” according to DHS.[1] That would represent a surveillance nightmare for Vermonters, who depend upon the interstates to get around.

        According to DHS, the checkpoints must be located at a straight stretch of highway at least 1,180 feet long, with a maximum grade of 4%, and providing “eight to ten queuing lanes with space for possible expansion” in order “to divert and check every vehicle.”[2]

        Although DHS describes the checkpoint as being ***** “like a toll booth,” ***** it would be a large installation with holding cells, an armory for weapons, and a garage for disassembling and searching cars, among other things. The DHS standards manual setting out the specifications for such a facility [3] shows a sample plan:

        https://acluvt.org/blog/2013/09/24/ (delete this for link to work) border-checkpoints-that-arent-at-the-border/

    2. Sorry, but a toll is a toll, and a roll is a roll, and if we don’t get no tolls, then we don’t eat no rolls.

      1. haha, this made me laugh more than i should have. me likez rhymez

        1. If you thought that was funny, then you should check out the rest of the movie.

        2. Made it up meself.

  4. I’m kind of ashamed to admit that outside of a few usurious instances (I’m looking at you, Delaware) tolls on long haul interstates don’t really bother me.

    1. The main problem with tolls is that they slow your overall progress and create bottlenecks which can increase traffic. However, with the advent of remote sensed tolling, that has be alleviated to a certain degree. EasyPass still makes you drive through a toll booth at a reduced speed, so it’s still a problem. Here in Washington the GoodToGo system photographs your license plate and sends you a bill (if you’re dumb enough to take the 520 bridge, that is), and there is no bottleneck whatsoever.

      Tolls are a direct user fee and also tend to be based on road abuse (charging by axle, for instance). Gas taxes do a pretty good job of approximating it, but a Prius damages the road as much as a Lotus, but uses way less gas.

      Regardless, any money collected will be raided for other purposes so it really doesn’t matter anyway.

      1. Actually, in NH they’ve installed new EZPass sensors and lanes that allow you to drive through at full speed. The first time I went through it, I didn’t even realize I went through the toll.

        1. I-44 in Oklahoma vs I-44 in Texas is the reason that you don’t let a state have a toll road, they’ll use it as a tax instead of a means to fund road repair. A better example of how to do toll roads is the Private Toll lanes being built on I-635,TX-114,TX-183,and I-820. The other option is a state-private partnership like the NTTA, but they have had an issue not collecting their bills for years at a time. Some people managed to rack up $100,000 in tolls/fines before they started rounding people up, suing, or taking their cars as collateral for payment.

      2. Yeah. While I don’t necessarily like the tracking aspect, I totally went EZPass when I was in Cleveland. It made life SO much easier, because I was back and forth to the offices in Detroit at least a couple times a month.

        I’m cool with tool roads, and if I have to drive them a lot, I’ll get the pass. It’s worth it to me.

      3. a Prius damages the road as much as a Lotus, but uses way less gas

        Which AFAIK is close to zero. Setting aside snow chains and studded tires (if those are even still legal), I believe almost all road damage is due to heavy trucks.

        1. Pretty much, but why do you hate truckers so much???? What I don’t understand is why it’s so difficult to pass those costs along to the consumer. Buy more shit, pay for more roads indirectly through product costs and diesel taxes.

          1. Just because they stated a fact about how bigger trucks cause more damage to roads than lighter cars does not, in anyway, mean that they “hate truckers” as you put it.

            It is possible to cite facts about how physical objects interact with their environments without “hating” the operator of said object.

        2. Trucks, snow plows, and frost wedging.

          1. I don’t even want to know what a frost wedgie is.

            1. Water flows into cracks in the road during the day. It freezes overnight, expands, and wedges the crack apart. The next day the ice melts, flows down into the now-deeper crack, freezes overnight….

          2. Snow and frost aren’t an issue in many areas, so that leaves trucks.

        3. Weather is important, too.

    2. Delaware is a great example of the problem of tolls. Delaware is sitting on 15 miles of I-95. They have a choke point. There is no alternative outside of going way out of your way and up 81 to go up the Eastern Seaboard. As a result, they are able to charge way above the amount necessary to maintain the road and use their geographic position as a way to gouge drivers.

      Perhaps that is their right being the sovereign owners of the land. But right or wrong, there is no way to call that efficient. It costs way more than it should to drive up I 195 because the state of Delaware is collecting what amounts to a tax on everyone who does so.

      Toll advocates always claim tolls are great because they make users pay the costs of the things they use. Okay, that is true as far as it goes. But since when is padding the treasury of Delaware part of paying the cost of building and maintaining I95?

      1. NH charges $2 to travel 16 miles.

        1. Delaware is about that distance and is five or ten dollars. $15 if you count the cost of crossing the bridge to get out of New Jersey.

          1. The problem here is the STATE ENFORCED monopoly on roads.

            If people were free to buy up property and build alternatives to the State Roads, they could. Unfortunately, they are allowed to say that their road is the only game in town.

            1. No they wouldn’t. Those roads cost money to build. The people who own choke points would still be free to gouge money from drivers right up to the point that it became profitable to build a competing road.

              Moreover, even if there is a competing road, that result is even more inefficient and idiotic. Where, with government owned roads and gas taxes we get one road that does the job, with private roads we get an extra unneeded road that serves only to keep the first road from raising prices. The second road is a complete waste and only exists as a way to mitigate the inefficiencies of the first road.

              1. Moreover, even if there is a competing road, that result is even more inefficient and idiotic.

                Replace that with ANY other product and you would be rightly denouncing someone as a communist. Does society really need more than one food provider? healthcare provider? Today there are probably one too many cell-phone providers in the market. Do we need to frett about Society’s “mis-allocation” of resources, or do we just let the market do its thing- if there is more providers than the market will bare, we will get consolidation and suddenly there aren’t too many. WOW.

                The beauty of free markets is they let society “decide” what is most efficient through the setting of prices and free consumption of products- rather than self-professed TOP MEN insisting they know what “enough but not too much” is. If a business charges too much for a scarce good, he will get competitors. If those competitors result in an over-provided market, the prices will go down. If prices go down too much, the competitors will scale back their offering. Blammo! (Temporary) price equilibrium.

                1. Sure – you could compare a toll road on a highway to a food provider, but the degree is enough that calling for some control to reduce unnecessary highways isn’t nearly as close to Communism, as calling for a single food provider would be.

                  Having said that – I will say that from a strict L point of view, your point is well made.

                  But I think when discussing roads, even in the mini-government, big L libertarians, assuming a fair amount of control would not prompt automatic revocation of the monocle, ID card, and tattoo.

          2. Last April I did a road trip from CT to FL Keys and back again up and down I95 on the eastern seaboard. Between NY, NJ, DE I paid over $50 just to get back home. What a fucking rape – not to mention the huge traffic jams as result of having to pay at a booth because I don’t have the EZpass or whatever. Tolls SUCK!

            BTW, FL had the most painless toll system – just drive under it and it’s supposed to read the plate and send you a bill but I never got one (not yet anyway)

          3. $15 if you count the cost of crossing the bridge to get out of New Jersey.

            Worth it to get out of New Jersey.

        2. I paid $3.75 to go 12 miles in Illinois

      2. Caveat: I recognize this would be an asshole move.

        I have in the past somewhat facetiously suggested that NM should charge proportionate tolls. So, for example, for drivers from Colorado, which doesn’t have any toll roads, you can drive on the 459 miles of I-25 in NM for free.

        If you have a Delaware plate, however, it’s a dollar for every 3 miles. (Or whatever their rate is for those 15 miles of I-95.) Ooooh, man, that’s going to suck…

        1. That would violate the equal protection clause.

        2. Heavier speeding fines against out-of-state drivers was attempted in Virginia. It went down in flames in court for violating the Equal Protection Clause.

          1. Whoops…sorry, I was incorrect. It charged higher fines to in-state drivers. Virginia lost in court and the law was repealed shortly afterwards.

      3. Another problem with the Delaware toll is that it backs up for miles. Unlike other toll authorities, Delaware knows that almost nobody from Delaware uses that highway, so there’s no incentive for them to fix it.

        That said, there is a relatively easy way to drive around the Delaware toll using local roads to cross the DE/MD border.

        1. It is still a pain in the ass and shouldn’t be necessary. The Delaware use of tolls shows the problem with tolls in general. They will never be as efficient as their proponents claim since people who own choke points, be it state or private parties, are free to extract a premium. There just no way around that. And in a fully private road system it would be Delaware times a hundred.

          1. In a fully private road system, people the market would work around that.

            Other roads or alternatives to the choke point would show up, and the toll road would need to lower rates to encourage people to come.

            Before you object, I agree that there will still be choke points costing more money. So what? We use prices to most efficiently allocate resources. When the price is artificially low, you get over-use and low incentives to offer that service, and so you get shortages. That is what happens today on pretty much every highway in a city where “Free” pricing for roads leads to gridlock.

            Choke points are places where there is little resource trying to serve a large community. By charging more and more, it signals to the community how rare that resource is, and they then change their behavior to accommodate that issue- businesses and people move, or they demand more salary to cover the expense of depending on this scarce resource.

            In short, high prices- absent the state blocking people from creating alternatives- are a feature of a market, not a bug.

            1. Other roads or alternatives to the choke point would show up, and the toll road would need to lower rates to encourage people to come.

              Maybe. But only if the toll is high enough to allow the competitor to make money charging a lower price.

              And again, even if other roads do arise, that is not an efficient result. We don’t need two I95s. One works just fine. A private road system either means getting gouged at the choke point or society building extra roads where they are not needed. There is no reason for a second I95 other than as a way to keep the owner of the first from charging too much. Well, the money and capital to build that second I95 comes from somewhere and could be used elsewhere. It is not free in other words.

              1. We don’t need two I95s. One works just fine

                Spoken like a true statist. Why does it work fine? According to you it isn’t working fine. It is too expensive. If others were free to compete, then there might be an alternative that is cheaper. And you get a choice.

                A private road system either means getting gouged at the choke point or society building extra roads where they are not needed.

                This is a false choice. First it assumes that we already have some sort of efficient placement of roads today. Well, based on the gouging you experience and the gridlocks in other areas, and completely deserted highways in still other areas, this premise seems, well, completely baseless.

                Second, it assumes that “society” is building anything. In a privatized system, no such thing happens. It is private investors who build the roads and charge tolls. The suggestion that private individuals should be building what is “Most efficient” for “society” is just silly. Why do we have multiple different private cell, radio, tv and satellite companies competing in limited spectrum? Wouldn’t it just be more efficient if we had the government provide those services?

                Third, while the temporary state may be that we have “Over-built” roads, that will not remain in a private system. Over time either prices will come down, demand will go up, or the private capital will be realocated.

              2. This is the exact same argument that comes up on a restaurant forum I frequent whenever someone complains about yet another pizza place opening in Louisville.

                Its just as clearly bullshit for roadz as for pizza joints.

                1. My previous post is a response to John, not Overt. Overt is exactly right.

                  1. Disagree pizza joints & roads are comparable from a product/ownership perspective.

                    A primary difference – no one uses pizza joints when discussing “infrastructure”.

                    Another point – that is having too many pizza places, may or my not be efficient (I disagree there can be too many), but having two I95 or I25 or I70 or…. isn’t just a unnecessary and inefficient, it’s a huge waste of an enormous amount of resources.

                    Additionally – what happens if a private company owns the main highways into any particular city – in those cases, the resources do not exist to create competing roads. There is zero chance a private investor could purchase the required land in order to even attempt to build (due to land already being in use and no easy open land in existence from directly outside large city to inside large city).

                    Therefore, in many situations, you would have not just a monopoly, but a monopoly setup in such a way that a true competitor can never exist.

                    Of course Obama’s plan still sucks for the reasons already provided by others, but I don’t think, when it comes to regulation by the government, that by believing roads are in a different category, as compared to say pizza joints or other product producers, is completely anti-libertarian.

                    & even if you do want to go full No True Scotsman here, and maybe you’re right, I do know that believing roads need more central regulation than other products is not statism.

                    1. The experience with RRs was both encouraging & discouraging as regards competition vs. regulated utility regimes. Competition (and, more importantly, potential competition) is feasible, but it’d be harder to conceive of it as efficient in a scenario where the business is providing only the road and not the xport’n service.

                      What’s ironic is the Penna. Tpk. as the legacy of a RR that was threatened to be built, but wasn’t, leaving abandoned tunnels.

            2. If it it private roads we want then we must be OK with private enterprise being able to condemn the land underneath the roads.

              It will always come down to that to get the last piece of the puzzle to build that dream road to solve traffic bottlenecks.

              1. OneOut, I thought the same thing. Private citizens can’t use eminent domain or condemnation so the state would always have the control.

      4. If coming from DC – take Route 50 over the Bay Bridge. It’s 30 extra minutes, but you get only one toll instead of 3 – Baltimore Tunnel, MD I-95 and De I-95.

        You can also take Route 1 from Charm City over the Conowingo Dam for free

  5. All tolling would be done via state-of-the-art all-electronic tolling, with no toll booths needed.

    Yeah because everyone having to put an electronic badge on their car creates no privacy concerns or danger of abuse.

    This kind of project is tailor-made for private capital investment under long-term public-private partnerships.

    You could do that with any stream of money. You could just as easily guarantee the private companies the revenues from a gas tax and accomplish the same thing. There is nothing about tolls that makes them any better suited to this than any other stream of revenue.

    A gas tax is a perfectly fine way to build roads. The problem is that like any other revenue stream, governments can’t keep their greedy paws off of it and end up raising it beyond the cost of the roads and using the money for other things. That is just as true for tolls as it is for gas taxes. If states and the feds will misuse gas tax revenue, and they clearly will, they will misuse toll revenue. Would a public private partnership make that harder? Maybe. But you could create the same kinds of partnerships using the gas tax. Just contract with companies to build and maintain roads in return for a set percentage of the gas tax.

    Ultimately, tolls are a pain in the ass and have the potential to create real privacy issues and can be abused in ways the gas tax can’t. And they really are not anymore efficient than their alternatives.

    1. Here in New England there are tons of toll highways, almost all of which the tolls were a temporary measure to pay off the bonds used to build them. Yet the tolls remain. I will admit that the toll roads are among the better maintained roads. Then again they have to be to allow vehicles to travel at those speeds.

      1. There are toll roads all over out west that were sold as “we are just going to have a toll until we pay it off” and decades after the bonds were paid still have tolls, that are of course used for everything but to maintain the roads.

        1. like the Dulles toll road. i have no idea what the original deal was. metro to Loundon probably wasn’t part of it.

        2. KY’s turnpike system had bonds that were paid off with tolls. I think only one of them is still tolled. Surprises me too, but sometimes the promises are kept.

          1. I-30 in DFW got paid off, but residents sued to have the toll booths removed. Evidence of this remains with some really bad designs in entrance/exit ramps from TX-360 using a city street with traffic lights instead of an easy continuous path on to both freeways.

        3. San Diego’s Coronado bridge suddenly stopped charging tolls when I lived there a while ago. When we were told it was because the bridge was paid for (which was the reason for the toll), we were all shocked…

      2. Connecticut abolished all toll booths (and therefore tolls) after a horrific toll booth accident in 1983. As you can see here, it’s a twisted miasma of the politicians trying to squeeze out more money and not have to pay the feds back for highway funds. Nothing like this can ever become anything more than a clusterfuck.

        1. Maybe they can do something about their love of left side exits next.

        2. I remember that toll booth accident – awful. Of course those fuckers in the CT legislature and rubbing their hands together crying about money and bringing up the Mianus River bridge collapse (another awful disaster blamed on lack of funds from Fed Govt).

          Like they’re actually going to use any money for it’s intended purpose. Lotto was approved based on the promise that the funds would go towards education. Now none of it does.

          1. Not sure about specific states, but in most cases, the lotto money does go directly to schools. It’s just that in every case, the politicians oversold those amounts.

            For instance, in MO – all the lotto money adds up to just under 1% of total education spending (though that number is from memory and years old, so might be higher/lower now) – this is because education spending the vast majority of the spending in state, county, and local governments to the point that even adding a billion dollars into the pot makes very little difference in the overall funding.

    2. If (and yes, it’s a big if) the toll system could be set up in a manner that guaranteed privacy, and if (again, a huge if) the tolls were actually replacing the gas tax, I’d prefer to the tolls to the taxes, mostly because I tend to drive cars that get terrible gas mileage.

      But since it seems way more likely that they’d just add the tolls to the gas tax, and use it as yet another way to track people, fuck that noise.

      1. Exactly. It is like the VAT. Yeah, it would be okay IF it replaced the income tax. But you know it would be in addition to that. Tolls like the VAT are just an excuse to raise taxes. Taxes are never eliminated and replaced. They are just supplemented.

        1. Or put another way, don’t let better or best be the enemy of good enough. Gas taxes have even less administrative costs than tolls and relatively local to their use (at least at the state level), and electric vehicles can be addressed by a title tax based on an average annual consumption.

          1. electric vehicles can be addressed by a title tax based on an average annual consumption

            Or we could just stop subsidizing them.

            1. We have to do that, but that still leaves them with an advantage. They get a free ride on the roads with no fuel tax.

              1. They still pay sales tax, and isn’t electricity taxed?

                1. Tires are taxed. The tax could be adjusted so short-lived sticky sport tires are taxed less, low rolling resistance high fuel economy tires more and tractor trailer tires the most.

        2. Which is why I only supported the Fair tax if it came with a constitutional amendment ending the income tax.

          Otherwise we end up with both.

          1. Ayup and that’s why it’s part of the bill.

          2. Fuck the Fair Tax.

      2. Bitcoin!

  6. First, it would be a large (and do-able) first step toward devolving the overextended federal transportation program to the states. Second, it would begin replacing a wasteful gas tax system with a true user fee, under which you pay only for the highways you drive on.

    When proposed legislation replaces taxes with tolls rather than tacking onto it, then you’ve got something.

    As it is, libertarians who view this as a step forward are dangerously close to useful idiot territory, as few federal politicians and no one with real power would consider tolls a replacement for taxes.

    1. They are not close to useful idiot territory, they have moved in and are building a home.

  7. giving states the freedom to toll Interstates, which is currently banned by federal law.

    It is? What’s up with all those damned tolls on I-95, then?

    1. Yeah, I was wondering the same thing about NYS I-90. I am sure there are numerous other examples.

    2. Those are roads built by the States that conform to interstate highway standards.

      Federal gov incorporated those roads into the interstate highway system rather than building their own adjacent roads.

    3. Some toll roads that already existed or were under construction when the Interstate system was started were allowed to get Interstate designations, but are not eligible for federal highway funds.

  8. I’ll support this when they stop taking taxes from me. Otherwise, this is just another attempt by government to have their cake and eat it too.

    1. “Otherwise, this is just another attempt by government to have our cake and eat it too.”

      There. That’s better.

  9. It’s not like toll money is ever misused.

    http://www.pressherald.com/201…..ng-robbin/

    Of course he only went to prison because the Maine Turnpike Authority is a quasi-state agency. So the people who run it aren’t exempt from the law. If it was a full fledged state agency, nothing else would have happened.

  10. I agree with the above commenters. The issues are two fold. First, this won’t replace any other taxes, so it only serves to increase the tax burden on citizens. Second, while it may better approximate market pricing, it is still the government running it, so it isn’t a free market.

    Don’t give the government another way to stick their hand in your pocket. Again, like others have said, many of the tolls that exist were supposed to be temporary, such as those on I-94 near Chicago.

  11. I am not open to giving one more red cent to the fucking government. How about they just privatize the roads? I’ll pay the totally private institutions that take over the roads for the service.

  12. I can’t believe no one has mentioned Red Barchetta yet.

  13. I thought the $787B stimulus was supposed to make all the roads and bridges shiny and new?

    This fucker does the same thing every time. Proclaim that he needs money to fix imaginary problems, gets the money, spends 1-2% on the problem and hands the rest out to his buddies. They are just looting the treasury, stealing us blind and daring anyone to call them on it. Every goddamn one of them belongs in prison.

    Want more taxes? A toll? Fuck you, NO. Reduce spending.

    1. *peaks into the treasury*

      Nope. Nothing in there to loot. Just a bunch of IOUs.

      1. But I still have checks treasuries!

      2. I’m reminded of the scene from Laurel and Hardy’s “March of the Wooden Soldiers” (which I watch every Christmas). Ollie Dee asks Stannie Dum to get his money box so Ollie can help Mother Goose pay off the mortgage. Upon opening said money box, Ollie unfolds an IOU from Stannie. Under questioning, Stannie tells Ollie that it was to pay for a new set of peewees.

        The scene seems analogous to our current setup. Two idiots looking for money to pay for someone else’s stuff but it’s already been spent on someone else’s stuff. The only difference is Stannie made good use of the money by hitting Barnaby in the head with the peewee…

        Oh, and THEN they go and try to get the money from their employer…

  14. Let’s say by some miracle the federal gas tax goes away and is replaced by tolls. The following week you’ll be paying tolls, state gas taxes, and the new carbon tax on gasoline.

    1. They’re never going to steal less. Ever. They don’t know how.

      1. True.

        As long as they are allowed to get away with it they will keep stealing larger and larger amounts and in a more and more blatant fashion.

  15. My default assumption is that Poole is wrong. Maybe I’ll read the post.

  16. NFL sunday ticket without a direct tv subscription.

    1. And those of us who have a subscription are fucked. I hate those assholes.

  17. Tolls should replace gas taxes on Interstates

    SRSLY?

    Poole, you’re an idiot.

    1. Yes, yes he is.

      1. Who are these people and how do we vote them off the island?

    2. Idiot is too kind. Poole is a fascist control freak who worships top down central planning more than the most statist prog.

  18. I confess, I’m confused.

    Everyone from prominent law professor and Instapundit blogger Glenn Reynolds to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to The Washington Times opposes giving states the freedom to toll Interstates, which is currently banned by federal law.

    Kansas has had a large portion of I-35 as a toll road for as long as I can remember (going back to the early 1970s). How is that possible, given the statement above?

    1. I actually encountered this in South Florida–from all appearances, a chunk of I-75 was a toll road. I used my SunPass, so it appeared to be state tolls.

    2. I believe currently they need federal approval to add a toll.

  19. Yeah, there’s no way tolling will replace gas taxes. That’s a pipe dream. Tolling will be in addition to gas taxes. That’s not to say tolling isn’t still preferable to other funding methods, because it still may be.

    And the evidence of success in Canada is mixed. I do believe that, as a taxpayer, I’m on the hook for significant costs for two local bridge replacement projects that are PPP and tolled, one of which is facing significant revenue shortfalls and already having to increase tolls.

    1. one of which is facing significant revenue shortfalls and already having to increase tolls

      Just like every other government project. They lay out these rosy projections insisting that this project will only cost you $1 a year, it’ll reduce traffic congestion, reduce commute time, feed the children, cure cancer, and get rid of male pattern baldness. Then they burn up their entire budget when the project is 10% finished and 2-years behind schedule, and come begging for me. This time, THIS time, they promise to do all those things they promised before if only you’ll fork over the rest of your wallet.

      Fuck ’em all. Not one more penny.

      1. No, fuck you, cut spending, and not one more fucking penny from me.

        1. Heh. I’m stealing that (AGAIN) for my already-guaranteed-to-be-unsuccessful 2016 run for President.

          Almanian 2016: No, Fuck You, Cut Spending!
          (yeah, I stole that from ProL – SUE ME)

          1. I’ll only sue you with extreme prejudice if you fail. To cut spending, that is.

  20. So…let me get this straight…the government mandates fuel economy standards which makes cars more expensive and less safe…and then when the standards do their job and people are using less gasoline, they decide that they need to either raise the gas tax they are responsible for depleting or allow tolls to make up for the shortfalls. Thanks Government.

    1. See Cigarette Tax.

  21. Basically, another idea which would make some kind of sense if implemented in Libertopia, but as implemented in the actual world, it will be abused and basically make things worse.

    It’s good to discuss what kind of reforms would work if carried out thoroughly and in good faith, but to imply that this has much to do with proposals from the Obama administration is naive.

    1. It would only make sense if fully implemented.

      Unfortunately what we would end up with are:

      – A nationwide system of license plate readers covering every single mile of the Interstate System.

      – A national payment and collections infrastructure that requires a valid credit card or bank account to travel on the Interstate System.

      – A continuation of the gas tax to pay for all the roads that people use when they don’t need to (or can’t) pay to use the Interstate System.

      – An extension of the EBT system so low income folks can pay Interstate Tolls using government benefits.

      1. Driving is a right.

        1. Only if you register Democratic.

  22. So these tolls will be just like the tolls for the Mackinac Bridge to/from Michigan’s UP, and will be dropped once the road/bridge/whatever is paid for, just like the toll for Michigan’s Mackinac Br….hey! Wait a minute!!

  23. It really is impossible to overstate how petty, craven, and corrupt the people running these operations are. Expecting anything other than graft, cronyism, and outright theft is hopelessly naive. I don’t know enough about Robert Poole to condemn him outright, but this article is definitely a brain fart.

    1. You are totally right about that. What I can’t figure is why Libertarians think private companies who got in the road business would be any different.

      The only thing that would stop them would be someone coming along and building a competing road. Okay, that means we end up building double the necessary roads as a cost of keeping the tolls competitive. Yeah, that is efficient.

      1. Because the profit motive helps capital flow to where it’s needed. More ppl drive on your road? Time to upgrade to get even more. Competition is an issue but there usually are some road alternatives, and you can always grant temporary licenses for roads. Say 20 years. Do a shitty job and someone else gets the bid.

      2. The only thing that would stop them would be someone coming along and building a competing road. Okay, that means we end up building double the necessary roads as a cost of keeping the tolls competitive. Yeah, that is efficient.

        Why isn’t it efficient? Let’s say you are an investor and you see thousands of cars going down a toll road each day and you identify you can get 30% of them by connecting point a and b and charging less.

        By building that road, you have created an efficiency gain for those 30% of people.

        Now the other road is being used 30% less. What will that toll owner do? Suck it up maybe, or maybe they’ll figure out a way to offer lower prices to people in order to encourage that 30% back to their road. Or one of those roads runs out of business and the roads are purchased by someone who can run those roads, or maybe they plow it up and build condos. On any given day, yeah, systems may not be efficiently allocated, but they will tend to move towards better allocation in the long run.

        You sound like one of those 60s era Central Planners who insisted that OF COURSE state-run or state-sanctioned monopolies were more efficient. They didn’t have to pay for waste like marketing and competition and they could set wages for workers extra low since they are the same game in town.

        Free Markets are messy, but they are still the best way for improving

        1. Neither system is perfect. But the system of government roads seems to have worked really well. There are a lot of places where you can point to government planning failing. Roads just isn’t one of the. That mostly because the market doesn’t work the same in every area. Roads are just a quirky good because they are not fungible.

          There are examples that are fairly analogous to private road systems. One of them would be rivers before motorized transport. They were the highways of the day. In places like Germany along the Rhine, anyone who owned land on the river was free to build a castle and start charging a toll to get buy. When they merged those sovereignty and made the river effectively public and free to travel down, trade boomed.

          If we had a truly private road system the tolls would be horrendous. People would raise the tolls right to the point of the maximum available to a monopoly. That would act as a de facto tax on trade and commerce.

          1. There are a lot of places where you can point to government planning failing. Roads just isn’t one of the.

            Then why all the kvetching about road prices? Why do we have gridlock in the middle of cities every day? Why do we spend billions on bridges to nowhere? Why are these great government built bridges falling into rivers because they aren’t being maintained.

            Government MAY have been pretty good at building roads, but the problems mentioned above are pretty much text-book examples of resource mis-allocation. Shortages, gluts, failing maintenance to critical infrastructure- all the stuff that happens when you take price sensitivity out of the equation.

            1. Gridlock in cities is a function of growth, constrained by area. This is why in very large cities, say NYC, they turn every other road into a one way road – to increase traffic flow, because irregardless of ownership, property doesn’t exist to build this magical competing road system no matter how much money is available.

              As for bridges – haven’t heard of all these falling bridges due to lack of maintenance, but please provide lots of examples. If there is an epidemic I’m unaware of, I’m willing to rethink this…

              But so far – the points you make – would still exist regardless of who owns it.

        2. Think of it this way, Pennsylvania and Maryland are free to build an alternative to I 95 to shut Delaware out of the tolls. Yet, they don’t do they? They don’t because the premium Delaware charges, while totally inefficient, is not high enough to make an alternative road profitable. So Delaware gets to charge its premium and everyone else suffers. Since other states are free to compete with Delaware, it would be no different in a private road system. Nothing says the competitor has to be a corporation.

          Advocates for a fully private road system just don’t understand how markets work in practice. You just have what can only be described as a religious faith that the market will produce the most efficient overall result in every case. No. The market is just a set of laws describing behavior. Give it the right circumstance and it will produce inefficient results. That doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.

        3. This is absurd. Planning is planning. The market is simply not always more efficient, depending on what your goal is. It has never and will never build a coherent large-scale infrastructure. It doesn’t have the mechanisms to do that.

          1. Right. No large scale public works project has ever been constructed without massive government planning and intervention. Not one.

            Idiot.

          2. The market is simply not always more efficient, depending on what your goal is. It has never and will never build a coherent large-scale infrastructure.

            You are so completely delusionally full of shit.

            Please take a look at the internet backbone, which is at this point entirely built out by private entities. Don’t give me shit about “Darpa” or Gore. The government contractors may have invented the technology, but the real work of laying and interconnecting billions of dollars in infrastructure is 95% privately controlled.

            Before that AT&T did the same with phones.

            Before that private companies did the same with railroads.

            So the idea that large infrastructure projects are impossible without government planning is stupid.

            1. Your examples of alternatives to government planning are monopolies?

          3. *obligatory Fuck You Tony, you’re a stupid fucking lying shitsucker post*

      3. Monopolies work great for markets with one cable provider, right?

        1. Cable systems are not roads. And sometimes government regulated monopolies are the most efficient method. Not verty often but it does happen.

          You guys’ problem is that you look at markets as some kind of magical means to produce the most efficient results. Generally that is how it works but not always. The reason is that markets are not things but just a set of rules that describes behavior. Put in the right circumstances and the laws of the market will spit out an inefficient result, like building two roads where one is all that is needed.

          1. They might as well be. They require easements like any other infrastructure. They transport a slightly different good, but still a good.

      4. Ah, the old argument about “wasteful competition”. Unfortunately, in the real world, it turns out that “wasteful competition” ends up being less wasteful than “wasteful government planning”. Furthermore, when private businesses build two roads where one would suffice, it’s investors who are stuck with the bill, not tax payers, and that’s just fine by me.

        I think the problem with private long distance roads is that zero may end up getting built because of legal and regulatory obstacles. If our biggest problem ends up being two roads getting built where one would suffice, that’s a really good outcome.

        1. nfortunately, in the real world, it turns out that “wasteful competition” ends up being less wasteful than “wasteful government planning”.

          In most cases yes. In the case of roads,no. Every rule has an exception. Of all the government waste hills to die on, roads are by far the most idiotic. They really are. There are a million easy cases against government to make. Why you people insist on picking the one hard one when so many obvious ones are available and need to be made is beyond me.

  24. Ask not on whom the toll falls.

    It falls on thee…

    /Hemingderp

  25. Well, of course! How could any “libertarian” be so stupid not to embrace this plan? Obama shifts the burden of highway financing to “user fees”, while he gets to keep the previous user fees (gas tax) to finance his pet projects and cronies.

    Actually, we don’t even have to look for the deception and crony capitalism in Obama’s plans: they are so reliably there that we can and should simply reject anything he proposes at this point simply because it comes from him.

    1. I don’t think anyone here is advocating tolls and gas taxes.

      While it is fair to point out how unlikely it is that government drops gas taxes in lieu of tolls, it doesn’t make the observation that tolls WOULD be a better system any less true.

      1. “Tolls would be a better system” is a meaningless statement because nobody knows what the tradeoffs involved would be.

        There is nothing in principle wrong with governments building roads, even from a libertarian and free market point of view; it may or may not be a good solution.

        The problem in the US is that federal funds are used to finance local and state infrastructure and interfere with local and state transportation policies for no good reason. That’s what we need to fix first.

  26. Being from NYC gas taxes and tolls are a very unfortunate fact of life I’m not against the plan it’s just with all the toll money the tbta makes on top of gas taxes we pay our roads are still falling apart. Just more pork for the pigs.

  27. The Interstate Highway System is indeed one of our most important accomplishments. It was also a government initiated idea, as I recall. Horrors! Another naughty government project.

    1. If we had a libertarian society in the 1950s there would be no need for interstate highways, as we would have already had flying cars.

      1. Tony and the crazy old man, cozying up, with no shame.

        Priceless.

    2. Taken from Nazi Germany. Just sayin’.

      1. NotAnotherSkippy,

        Wrong! Check your history and you will find that President Eisenhower got things started when he was in office.

        Part of his initiative was based on his experiences in the Army before World War II when he found that getting Army transports across country was extremely slow because of the poor roads.

        1. Right. It was not the least bit inspired by the Autobahn he saw in Germany. Uh huh. Good luck to you!

    3. The Interstate Highway System is indeed one of our most important accomplishments. It was also a government initiated idea, as I recall. Horrors! Another naughty government project.

      Now, let the progressive gnashing of teeth over CO2 emissions begin.

      On the one hand: Look at this huge country and growing GDP! All thanks to the government!
      On the other hand: OMG, look at all the CO2! How the heck did we let the free market do that? Damn that capitalist consumption!
      On the third hand: OK, let’s tax CO2 and spend the money on infrastructure boosting consumer demand, and growing the economy! That’ll be great!

      Followed by additional freaking out about CO2. Rinse, and repeat.

      It’s fun to pretend that we owe almost our entire consumer demand to the government, yet we have a clean, natural government, all at the same time.

    4. On The Road To Mandalay|7.16.14 @ 4:35PM|#

      “The Interstate Highway System is indeed one of our most important accomplishments. It was also a government initiated idea, as I recall. Horrors! Another naughty government project.”

      The main purpose of which was to be able to deploy our army from Ocean to Ocean.

  28. WHAT?! Isn’t anyone saying anything about the federal procurement process, union labor, affirmative action regs, OSHA, the EPA, and all that? Just suspend that slop, all of it, like they did in California after the Northridge quake took down a piece of I-5. It was declared a federal disaster, and Peter Ueberroth (sp?) rebuilt the whole thing ahead of schedule and under budget.

    Tolls schmolls, just learn the lessons of Obamacare and refuse to fund the Obamaway — or any damn Fedway. I wonder if Rick Perry would ever make good on a promise to dismantle those three things, whatever they were.

  29. OK, I skimmed the report. He’s got one reference that claims toll administrative costs won’t be any higher fuel taxes and even claims the latter can be up to 15% of revenue.

    Indirect costs, taxes hidden in the revenue collection, evasion and exemptions taken together make 5% (and in some cases up to 15%)?a more plausible number for the true cost of fuel tax collection in America today.

    I can’t find the text of the cite (only another cite to it in another book), so someone else will have to comment on the validity. However, I find claims of evasion dubious compared to, oh, turning off your transponder in a toll system…

    What’s worse is that later on he claims that funding will be dedicated THIS time because we’ll use bonds! Yeah, that’s the ticket! And since there will be bondholders, then the gov’t will be forced to spend the money on roads. Setting aside the problem of fungibility, does Poole honestly expect the government to hold itself accountable to the bondholders? And even if it did, nothing prevents the present system from also using bonds for construction.

    All in all a very weak piece from what I read.

    1. Obama is a liar. He will re-allocate those funds to build DHS checkpoints.

      Bait&Switch;.Trojan Horse.

      Losing our freedoms rapidly folks.

      I don’t want live like a freakin’ Palestinian under the thumb of DHS.

      ***Plans for a Permanent Checkpoint*** (“like a toll booth”)

      “Documents turned over to the ACLU-VT by the government show tha DHS has conducted detailed site surveys of places on I-89 and I-91 to build an eight-acre facility straddling the highway, operating year round, with “[t]he operational intent ? to divert all traffic from the interstate for screening,” according to DHS.[1] That would represent a surveillance nightmare for Vermonters, who depend upon the interstates to get around.

      According to DHS, the checkpoints must be located at a straight stretch of highway at least 1,180 feet long, with a maximum grade of 4%, and providing “eight to ten queuing lanes with space for possible expansion” in order “to divert and check every vehicle.”[2]

      Although DHS describes the checkpoint as being ***** “like a toll booth,” ***** it would be a large installation with holding cells, an armory for weapons, and a garage for disassembling and searching cars, among other things. The DHS standards manual setting out the specifications for such a facility [3] shows a sample plan:

      https://acluvt.org/blog/2013/09/24/ (delete this for link to work) border-checkpoints-that-arent-at-the-border/

  30. Yeah, you can just like us here in Massachusetts, where we’re still saddled with tolls every five feet to pay for the Big Dig that were supposed to end 20 years ago.

  31. The transponder reports one’s position at a particular time. While it doesn’t continue to track the individual, it does report position? unless one is allowed to purchase transponders anonymously and refill the account the same way.

    Bottom line, the government will use transponders to spy on you. They already do in many areas – actually recording the ping AND photographing one’s license plate at toll booths.

  32. The transponder reports one’s position at a particular time. While it doesn’t continue to track the individual, it does report position? unless one is allowed to purchase transponders anonymously and refill the account the same way.

    Bottom line, the government will use transponders to spy on you. They already do in many areas – actually recording the ping AND photographing one’s license plate at toll booths.

  33. The first modern highway in the United States was privately built and (partially) financed by tolls.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L…..or_Parkway

  34. The fuel tax, if not abused, is still the best solution until electric or high mpg hybrids become a large % of the fleet.

    Toll booths, if real, are a complete hassle and union boondoggle siphoning off much of the benefits. If “electronic” are an invasion of privacy.

    A better alternative is to simply charge a graduated per mile fee at the time of your annual vehicle inspection. They record the milage at that time anyhow and while it is not a perfect indicator of highway vs local miles driven it is probably a good proxy, is not an invasion of privacy and makes use of the existing inspection and payment system.

  35. Poole is an imbecile.

    1. No, Poole is a smart progressive trying to sell crony capitalism to libertarians.

      1. And this differs from “imbecile” how?

  36. what @Stilgar said.

    besides we all know electronic won’t actually be electronic- hell none of the bridge tolls here is SF California area are 100% electronic- which means an utterly abysmal highway system if implemented…

    about the abuse of fuel tax… if we can’t protect the fuel tax we won’t be able to protect any toll fee either. Even if we could isolate and ‘fix’ the toll fee it would only lead to more abuse of the fuel tax. Money is fungible.

  37. Nope.The Feds are unable to run anything without corruption and cronyism. It would be nothing more than a cash reservoir for those in power. Poole’s pitch might be feasible if a number of Fed departments were abolished. The EPA, Board of ED, TSA, etc.

  38. Poole is a transportation planner. joe from Lowell is a transportation planner. Hitler was a transportation planner. That should tell you all you need to know about transportation planning and planners.

  39. Public-public private partnerships? Isn’t that just conservative Newspeak for corporate welfare?

  40. Actually, freedom-loving conservatives should not embrace anything this Administration proposes. A toll booth is a short step to a checkpoint.

    It’s a Trojan Horse, folks.

    Not one more dime for Obama.

    **Plans for a Permanent Checkpoint**

    Documents turned over to the ACLU-VT by the government show that the Department of Homeland Security has conducted detailed site surveys of places on I-89 and I-91 to build an eight-acre facility straddling the highway, operating year round, with “[t]he operational intent ? to divert all traffic from the interstate for screening,” according to DHS.[1] That would represent a surveillance nightmare for Vermonters, who depend upon the interstates to get around.

    According to DHS, the checkpoints must be located at a straight stretch of highway at least 1,180 feet long, with a maximum grade of 4%, and providing “eight to ten queuing lanes with space for possible expansion” in order “to divert and check every vehicle.”[2] Although DHS describes the checkpoint as being “like a toll booth,” it would be a large installation with holding cells, an armory for weapons, and a garage for disassembling and searching cars, among other things. The DHS standards manual setting out the specifications for such a facility [3] shows a sample plan:

    https://acluvt.org/blog/2013/09/24/ (delete this) border-checkpoints-that-arent-at-the-border/

    1. Damn straight. I don’t know why people at Reason even pretend that supporting Obama is an option. There is nothing he offers that libertarians can trust…everything he does has a catch to it, and the sales pitch is always a complete lie.

      You can’t negotiate or find a happy middle ground with this person…he doesn’t honor any agreements and nothing he wants syncs with what we want.

  41. So we cannot possibly stop the diversion of the fuel tax to non-road boondoggles, and we can’t raise the existing fuel tax rate (with no need to modify its existing collection infrastructure) by a few cents per gallon, but we can spend billions on traffic-slowing vehicle-tracking toll systems that need added and guaranteed to grow maintenance funds and staffing.

    Just how goddam dumb ARE some of these people? Really, how goddam dumb?

  42. You know, it doesn’t sound like the worst idea, but at this point there’s not an idea out there on which I’d back Obama. Tolls instead of taxes would be great. I don’t believe for a second he’d ever repeal taxes. Turning highways over to state control would be great. I don’t believe for a second he would let that happen, considering it’s another tool by which to punish Republicans if they ever try to buck him on funding again.

    He’s a liar and a criminal…nothing he could propose will be worthwhile because there’s always a catch and he’ll always try to use it to fuck us over in some way. At some point, you just have to accept that the man is not someone you can trust on any issue…because he’s not just a liar and crook, he’s also a wishy-washy incompetent. You might as well try to build a house on quicksand.

  43. “This kind of project is tailor-made for private capital investment under long-term public-private partnerships. States would have companies compete for long-term contracts to finance, build, operate, and maintain specific Interstates”

    Either make it government run or privatize it.

    Public private partnerships are utterly corrupt and the essence of crony capitalism. That sort of b.s. is how conservatives and Republicans have dragged free market principles through the mud, and why people like Obama have been able to push their progressive agenda.

    1. To be fair, Democrats are at least half responsible for the cronyism.

      When a business, regardless of how well or poor of a job they do creating their services/products, has to grease the politicians just to do business, that leads to a big pile of crap.

  44. This is all fine and good. But a better approach would be to figure out how to stop putting all the money in a big trough and letting all the pigs feed on it. And stop the pigs from making money out of thin air would be nice as well.

  45. Everything (really) old is new again?

    “For one thousand years, from around 800 AD to 1800 AD, tolls were collected from ships sailing on the River Rhine in Europe. During this time, various feudal lords, among them archbishops who held fiefs from the Holy Roman Emperor, collected tolls from passing cargo ships to bolster their finances.”

    “Only the Holy Roman Emperor could authorise the collection of such tolls. Allowing the nobility and Church to collect tolls from the busy traffic on the Rhine seems to have been an attractive alternative to other means of taxation and funding of government functions.”

    “Often iron chains were stretched across the river to prevent passage without paying the toll, and strategic towers were built to facilitate this.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robber_baron

  46. This is just a new way to tax us and redistribute wealth. The Poor and the Underclass are not using the Interstates as much the Middle Class. They don’t drive to work from the “burbs”. we would not need this new tax if the Democrats would quite wasting money on non-essential projects and paying off their friends with the taxpayers money. How many Green Energy Companies went under? How many NOGs got government money? How many tax breaks and gifts did the Unions get?

  47. I am fine with toll roads, if they shut down gasoline taxes, otherwise, no way.

  48. I support the maximum privitization of the highway system. Of course there will be problems with the resulting monopoly over a stretch of road but Milton Freedman always preferred a private monopoly to a public monopoly. If I understand the differences, private owners can fail i.e. poor management would result a sale of the assets to new owners and managers. Another difference would be take-over opportunities. If we assume that I own enough of the stock to control, but I am running the company poorly (running it as a monopoly with high prices and too few customers). You might think you can run the company better (lower prices and more motorist). You can buy up enough of the stock to wrest control and change management. If your ideas work, the value of the stock will go up. It is highly unlikely that any of this would happen with regulated public ownership.

  49. This is dumb. Let inflation wean us off federal gas taxes. Let each state use its own mix of gas tax and odometer tax to fund local roads.

    Use the fed money to backstop interstates in the poorest or least populous states.

    Texas collects annual odometer data as part of the annual safety inspection. No need for gps.

  50. Just another way to track and limit movement within the US. Best way to fund highways and roads? Spend the tax dollars collected specifically for this purpose on this purpose. Hard to keep these diva’s from stealing from Paul to pay Peter all the time.

  51. This is amazing. Start working at home with Google. It’s a great work at home opportunity. Just work for few hours. I earn up to $100 a day. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out http://www.Fox81.com

  52. I consider myself Libertarian, this is whack! Screw them toll roads. This is highway robbery and it’s unamerican.

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