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Friday, January 14, 2005

Toll lanes

Another one of Pawlenty's proposals for getting something without raising taxes was toll lanes. He sold this idea as one where tolls would build more lanes and new freeways in existing corridors without any taxpayer funding necessary. Private businesses would jump at the chance to construct these roads and collect the ensuing revenue, according to him. Better traffic, no taxes, and private businesses profit. A win all around!

Except that it won't work. Minnesota does not have the traffic densities to support this idea, and unsurprisingly, a study found that these lanes would not pay for themselves as promised. Now the question facing the Department of Transportation becomes whether to have tolls on lanes constructed with taxpayer money.

Once again, reality gets in the way of Pawlenty's no new taxes pledge. The state is facing a transportation funding shortfall of about half a billion dollars per year. If we construct these toll lanes without raising taxes, that means other highway projects are going to be delayed. There is only one answer to this: we need more money! First, let's adequately fund transportation and transit, then we can discuss the merits of toll roads. Unless we do that first, we are simply going to be robbing one project to pay for another.

3 Comments:

At 1:32 PM, January 16, 2005, Blogger R-Five said...

I agree. Toll lanes would also create some "class envy" - it's just not Minnesota values. It's somewhere between a mess and and an anoyance in other states. Let's keep Minnesota toll lane free.

 
At 10:08 AM, January 18, 2005, Blogger CrispyShot said...

The toll lanes would be like HOV or express lanes, right? Not like a whole toll road (a la Dallas).

I heartily agree that this is an invitation to class warfare. I don't think that it would fly for most fair-minded Minnesotans.

That said, though, it does seem consistent with the (professed, at least) Republican tenet of making those who want it pay for it. Kind of like forcing education funding down to the school district level. Of course, equity is the problem, as always. Again, back to fair-minded Minnesotans.

 
At 4:23 PM, July 08, 2005, Blogger iteration_x said...

there is a plan to turn all roads into america into toll roads, starting with Texas, http://www.texastollparty.com/

 

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