Trucking Industry Against I-80 Tolls

I’m glad to see the trucking industry coming out against the tolls.  It’s a stupid idea, and to add to the stupidity, they are studying the possibility of doing the same thing to I-95.

Currently, to see Bitter, in Virginia, I pay the 3-dollar tolls in Delaware, both ways (actually, I’ve been bypassing them now, it’s easy, actually), a 5 dollar toll one way in Maryland, and a 2 dollar toll both ways for the Fort McHenry Tunnel.  Grand total is 15 dollars in tolls.  That’s, of course, in addition to the $600 a year I fork over to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission just on my daily commute.

Pennsylvania ought to be ripping up toll booths, not looking for excuses to build new ones.  I’d be a very bad anarcho-capitalist, but I’ve always believed that tax money is well spent on public roads.  Everyone benefits, even people who don’t drive.  It ought to be a collectively borne cost.  There are some narrow instances where I think tolls make sense, but otherwise it’s too easy for state governments who are bad at managing cash to raise money through tolls as a back door method for taxation.

It’s not just Pennsylvania.   Delaware is talking about raising it’s 21 mile section of I95 to 4 dollars both ways, up from 3 dollars.  I’ve also heard they are considering putting a toll plaza on the 896 offramp to discourage people from shirking the toll on the back roads like I’ve been doing.  That’s 8 dollars to go through Delaware and back!  At some point I think the federal government needs to step in and tell the states enough.   The feds are eager to use their power to regulate interstate commerce for stupid crap that’s neither interstate nor commerce, they can damn well use it for what it was meant for!

7 thoughts on “Trucking Industry Against I-80 Tolls”

  1. I’m actually for tolls on all interstate highways in the state of PA. However, I think the use of EZ-pass should be greatly encouraged, even mandated – there are some privacy concerns about that, I know. With the mandatory use of EZPass, I think the cost of tolls would go down.

    However, that doesn’t get to the real reason behind my being for the toll roads – PA roads are horribly maintained and our transportation infrastructure, both the roads and the mass transit, is crumbling. Earmarking the tolls for the strict purpose of covering the cost of improving transportation in PA is a good thing, in my mind. It’s better than Fast Eddie trying to push another 1% on top of the sales tax.

  2. Fuck mass transit. When SEPTA busts its unions, we’ll talk about mass transit funding. As long as bus drivers are making 60 grand a year they can bite me. The toll booth workers unions fought EZ-pass tooth and nail, and it’s still an abortion, and hasn’t reduced tolls. Pennsylvania has bad roads because it has a LOT of roads compared to other states. But Rendell isn’t looking to raise taxes to cover roads, he’s proposing a lot of other new spending. Roads come first. They are one of the primary functions of government. I’m fine with my taxes going up if we need to pay for more or better roads. I’m not OK with them going up to fund Rendell’s pet spending projects. I’m definitely not OK with them going to subsidize a completely mismanaged and over bloated mass transit system.

  3. Yeah, SEPTA is hugely mis-managed and has awful unions, but I’m not talking about just Septa here. The Schuylkill Valley Metro between Reading and Philadelphia, a non-septa entity has stalled.

    As far as Septa goes, there’s no parking at most of the train stations, there’s no high speed transit to places where people want to go or work (i.e. King of Prussia), and the orange line is shit. But none of those improvements will happen even if the union is busted.

  4. Are you in a position to take I-295 in NJ wihtout too much difficulty? Shockingly enough, it is toll-free and parallels the NJTPK. For a long while it was the better road (dropped to 2 lanes a lot father south than the turnpike). Plus, for me, it saves a chunk on Turnpike tolls.

    Depending on where in PA you’re going, you cna even use the north end bridge to get into PA (where I-95 N turns into I-295 S); it the only major exit point of NJ that I know of that has no toll.

    OTOH, I don’t know that it saves you anything on tolls, but given the construction that DE has been doing on both I-95 and I-495 north of the delaware memorial bridge, it may save you time.

  5. The question is, will anyone take mass transit if it were an option? Will anyone take the Schuylkill Valley Metro? Light rail projects tend to be boondoggle.

  6. I actually think that people will take the SVM because it will go where people work: Great Valley, King of Prussia, and Philadelphia. And with stops in Berks County and northern Chester County, Philadelphia becomes an option as a place to go work. People in those areas currently have to drive to Norristown or Paoli, negotiate a parking spot, and then have an hour train ride. No one takes mass transit because if you have to drive far to the train station, what’s the point?

    There are some light rail projects that have been a boondoggle. The South Jersey Light Rail was predicted to be one of those, but it has actually been successfull, because it goes where people live, work, and shop.

    You can make the case that buses are a far better mechanism for mass transit because they are more dynamic, able to change with population demographics. That’s fine, but that requires building dedicated lanes for buses and HOV vehicles. The tracks are already there for the SVM. Build the freaking stations and put some goddamn engines on the tracks.

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