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Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Toll lanes?

A report in the Star Tribune today says that according to a study done by Cambridge Systematics, toll lanes in the Twin Cities would be attractive to drivers, but would not make enough money to completely cover their costs. That means that if Governor Pawlenty wants to go forward with this idea, it is going to take state money.

I'm not necessarily opposed to toll lanes on principle, but what I am opposed to is this myth held by Republicans that we can make up for funding shortfalls in state government by getting the private sector involved. While this may work in a few cases, it usually does not. I am not surprised that this study shows that toll lanes will not be self-sustaining. Traffic is bad here, yes, but it's not that bad.

Pawlenty and House Republicans refuse to consider raising the gas tax (which hasn't gone up in over 15 years), raising license tab fees, or doing anything else to actually put more money into our transportation system. As a result, our highways are falling apart, and projects to increase capacity are repeatedly delayed. We need real dollars, not pie-in-the-sky promises that the "free market" will answer all of our problems. It won't.


At 2:48 PM, September 22, 2004, Blogger CrispyShot said...

Assuming toll lanes = express lanes, I gotta admit, I'm kind of conflicted on this. One the one hand, it seems like you're just inviting class warfare - those who can afford it will cruise by everyone else. One the other hand, though, the electronic TollTags used in Dallas and other areas have been pretty successful. It's worth noting, though, that those systems were added to an existing toll road, and they just expedite paying the toll; there are no express lanes on the North Dallas Tollway.


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