Reason/Rupe poll: Americans want more tolls, not higher taxes

posted at 6:40 pm on December 26, 2011 by Tina Korbe

As a follow-up to Ed’s earlier post, which highlighted the results of a new Rasmussen poll that showed most Americans want the government to reduce spending, I present these interesting findings from a Reason-Rupe poll. Americans resist the idea that the government should raise taxes to finance infrastructure, preferring instead to pay for transportation costs directly through tolls. According to the poll, 58 percent think new tolls instead of new taxes should fund new roads and highways — while just 28 percent prefer tax increases to tolls.

The Washington Examiner’s David Freddoso calls attention to more notable statistics:

- 77 percent of Americans oppose increasing the federal gas tax, 19 percent favor raising it;
- 59 percent of Americans say they would pay to use a toll road if it saved them “significant” time;
- 57 percent support converting HOV lanes into HOT lanes;
- 50 percent oppose, and 39 percent support, variably-priced tolls;
- 33 percent say transit should get a slice of the funding pie that exceeds its ridership share and 33 percent say it should get funding equal to its ridership share

And, as Freddoso points out, the sample hardly skewed conservative, as the participants gave the president a net favorable rating.

These policy-oriented polls are encouraging, demonstrating, as they do, that Americans expect their elected representatives to serve as good stewards of taxpayer dollars. They also serve as a timely reminder to the GOP candidates to sell the idea that Barack Obama has not been a responsible steward. No matter what happens with the economy between now and November 2012, that fact won’t change. He and the Senate Democrats would rather us pay more than budget responsibly.


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What a crook!

Vntnrse on December 26, 2011 at 6:43 PM

uh…ahem…CROCK, although this poll was probably run by crooks….

Vntnrse on December 26, 2011 at 6:43 PM

The sooner we can convert the interstate system into a toll system, the better.

Count to 10 on December 26, 2011 at 6:46 PM

Americans resist the idea that the government should raise taxes to finance infrastructure, preferring instead to pay for transportation costs directly through tolls.

We already pay the DoT for roads via the farking taxes we pay on our FUEL! Tina come on, you know this. I will blame it on the turkey or ham you may have consumed.

upinak on December 26, 2011 at 6:46 PM

Living in the land of the NTTA, I’d agree. We have the option of taking tollways or not.

You do not have the option of paying less tax on a gallon of gasoline…

And most of the tollways I’ve seen are built quicker, better, and are more well maintained that government roads.

CorporatePiggy on December 26, 2011 at 6:47 PM

He and the Senate Democrats would rather us pay more than budget responsibly.

“Responsibly”, hell, I’d take any budget from the Dem senate at this point, if nothing else to force them to put something on paper.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on December 26, 2011 at 6:47 PM

The sooner we can convert the interstate system into a toll system, the better.

Count to 10 on December 26, 2011 at 6:46 PM

No. Why? Have you ever been in Florida or California with their tools? Wanna be either nickled and dimed to death or pay a straight up 10 dollar fee? How about the interstate going into Orlando with a Toll that you can’t pay because the morons are doing it all via that stupid little sticker and will take a pic and give a ticket to those who don’t have one. Talk about ticking off the tourists who don’t know about it and want to take their family to Disney!

upinak on December 26, 2011 at 6:48 PM

And most of the tollways I’ve seen are built quicker, better, and are more well maintained that government roads.

CorporatePiggy on December 26, 2011 at 6:47 PM

They are all government roads. Tolls are just more mandated to show where the money that is paid to them goes, unlike the Feds.

upinak on December 26, 2011 at 6:49 PM

Tolls? Brilliant idea!/

Buy Danish on December 26, 2011 at 6:49 PM

No. Why? Have you ever been in Florida or California with their tools? Wanna be either nickled and dimed to death or pay a straight up 10 dollar fee? How about the interstate going into Orlando with a Toll that you can’t pay because the morons are doing it all via that stupid little sticker and will take a pic and give a ticket to those who don’t have one. Talk about ticking off the tourists who don’t know about it and want to take their family to Disney!

Not sure about Flori-duhhh but the NTTA takes a picture of you. If you don’t prepay, they just bill you based on your DMV recorded address.

CorporatePiggy on December 26, 2011 at 6:50 PM

Um tolls are a scam. Your tax dollars already paid to build the road. Now they want to charge you to use it? Yeah, screw that.

lorien1973 on December 26, 2011 at 6:50 PM

The Socialists in the National Democratic Party have an epiphany, well Shazam!

We’ll just say all those new taxes are tolls instead, PR problem solved..

Chip on December 26, 2011 at 6:50 PM

I hate tolls in General. Keep paying tools and next time you have to pay a toll before you can get out of your own drive way

liberal4life on December 26, 2011 at 6:53 PM

Not sure about Flori-duhhh but the NTTA takes a picture of you. If you don’t prepay, they just bill you based on your DMV recorded address.

CorporatePiggy on December 26, 2011 at 6:50 PM

Why do you need a toll, when you already pay hundreds of dollars into the system for roads and maintenance? You do realize this.. right? And it isn’t just Federal, but State and county as well.

upinak on December 26, 2011 at 6:53 PM

Keep away from electronic tags – you can, and will be tracked. Keep it as a cash transaction – if at all possible.

OldEnglish on December 26, 2011 at 6:55 PM

Tolls? Ya, sure, and require paid subscriptions for ‘news’. That’ll work!

Skandia Recluse on December 26, 2011 at 7:00 PM

upinak on December 26, 2011 at 6:48 PM

You got it.
signed

Central Fl.

bazil9 on December 26, 2011 at 7:02 PM

Tolls are only additional taxes on the working people who are forced to use tolled roadways.

Rio Linda Refugee on December 26, 2011 at 7:02 PM

Keep away from electronic tags – you can, and will be tracked. Keep it as a cash transaction – if at all possible.

OldEnglish on December 26, 2011 at 6:55 PM

You can tag people even paying cash tolls. And your cell phone is a tracking device unless you use burners regularly. And on it goes. Put. The. Tin. Foil. Hat. DOWN.

Why do you need a toll, when you already pay hundreds of dollars into the system for roads and maintenance? You do realize this.. right? And it isn’t just Federal, but State and county as well.

I don’t *need* any toll roads around here. I avail myself of them if I am in a hurry because they’re usually faster. The choice is there. Ideally I’d live in a state with an enormous budget surplus that allows it to throw up huge new localized highways every 6 months.

Everywhere’s different I guess. Alaska has a population of about one person per 100 caribou last time I checked.

CorporatePiggy on December 26, 2011 at 7:03 PM

“Tolls” and “Fees”…just another name…just immigrating another term…like “undocumented” or “guest” worker! It is what it is.

KOOLAID2 on December 26, 2011 at 7:04 PM

According to the poll, 58 percent think new tolls instead of new taxes should fund new roads and highways — while just 28 percent prefer tax increases to tolls.

Currently liberals steal gas taxes in most states to pay for public transit boondoggles, I’d like to see how well stopping this theft would poll.

18-1 on December 26, 2011 at 7:07 PM

We already pay the DoT for roads via the farking taxes we pay on our FUEL! Tina come on, you know this. I will blame it on the turkey or ham you may have consumed</s.

With all respect, I am not convinced of the superior intellect of Miss Korbe.

Rio Linda Refugee on December 26, 2011 at 7:07 PM

I hate tolls in General. Keep paying tools and next time you have to pay a toll before you can get out of your own drive way

liberal4life on December 26, 2011 at 6:53 PM

So I guess when the government seizes the property of someone else to buy votes, that’s A- Okay with you..

When it comes to the government seizing Your property to buy votes.. that’s a different story.

Is that the correct assessment?

Chip on December 26, 2011 at 7:07 PM

CorporatePiggy on December 26, 2011 at 7:03 PM

Upinak speaks the truth. I live here. Not about being “in a hurry”- the Urban sprawl lingers on here. Unless you want to drive 3 hours to work, you take the express roads. They are no longer .25 cents, .50 cents-try $1.00, $1.50, $2.00. $600.00 a year easily to get to work.

bazil9 on December 26, 2011 at 7:08 PM

CorporatePiggy on December 26, 2011 at 7:03 PM

Cash can only be tagged at the toll booth – not permanently within the range of the device. FWIW, police in Australia use the tag records to trap speeders between points.

Your second point is valid, which is why I don’t use a smart phone, and only switch my basic phone on to make a call – then it goes back off.

OldEnglish on December 26, 2011 at 7:10 PM

I hate tolls in General. Keep paying tools and next time you have to pay a toll before you can get out of your own drive way

liberal4life on December 26, 2011 at 6:53 PM

But…but…butt…You want to pay your fair share!

KOOLAID2 on December 26, 2011 at 7:13 PM

One of the fundamental things that the public expects from the government is a well functioning set of roads – something the government has failed at, often intentionally.

For example, instead of trying to improve throughput and safety, the latest rage is “traffic calming” or in clearer terms creating inefficient roads to intentionally encourage people to go somewhere else.

Upper class liberals favor these outrages because they can, and do afford to live near their jobs in the city. And lower class liberals don’t work.

Overall I can’t think of a greater failure of government bureaucracy over the last 50 years then what has happened with the road network. In 2011 it takes longer to get from point A to point B in most places then it did in 1961. And we collectively accept it.

18-1 on December 26, 2011 at 7:14 PM

Everywhere’s different I guess. Alaska has a population of about one person per 100 caribou last time I checked.

CorporatePiggy on December 26, 2011 at 7:03 PM

very mature and ignorant of you.

Maybe you should leave your state occasionally and travel a bit.

upinak on December 26, 2011 at 7:14 PM

You can tag people even paying cash tolls. And your cell phone is a tracking device unless you use burners regularly. And on it goes. Put. The. Tin. Foil. Hat. DOWN.

Will someone please break piggy’s little bank and smack him to get through that not everyone own or wants a farking smart phone.

upinak on December 26, 2011 at 7:16 PM

Tolls are much, much better and even better would be tolls + private congestion priced express lanes. Here’s why:

There is a well-known pricing problem with public goods: if everyone gets a public good for free, the natural incentive is to use as much of it as possible (this is one reason why, for instance, we have runaway Medicare costs). Tolls match costs to prices better than fuel or income taxes.

The road pricing problem is also exacerbated by the fact at peak traffic times, past a certain tipping point the true cost of each additional vehicle suddenly goes way up as the system starts to bog down and each additional vehicle makes everyone’s drive longer.

Now, some people would happily pay $10 to avoid half an hour of sitting in traffic. Others would not. If we allow private congestion priced express lanes, we can build additional lanes for the people willing to pay. That removes them from the normal flow of traffic at no cost to taxpayers, and lets them and everyone else get around faster. It’s win/win.

TallDave on December 26, 2011 at 7:16 PM

Rio Linda Refugee on December 26, 2011 at 7:02 PM

Exactly! Thank you.

bazil9 on December 26, 2011 at 7:17 PM

Tolls? Bad idea! With tolls, how are you going to make sure that a huge proportion of the population gets everything for free? Go back to the drawing board on that crazy idea!

BillCarson on December 26, 2011 at 7:20 PM

More seriously, the question is how to fund the new roads? Tolls are one way, another is general taxation (which hits people who don’t need said roads), and what’s the other upinak?

CorporatePiggy on December 26, 2011 at 7:21 PM

upinak on December 26, 2011 at 7:16 PM

Thank you! :)

OldEnglish on December 26, 2011 at 7:24 PM

CorporatePiggy on December 26, 2011 at 7:21 PM

Funny, when a hurricane is on the way and they deactivate the tolls-everyone sure loves those roads. Who are those people again?

bazil9 on December 26, 2011 at 7:25 PM

Keep away from electronic tags – you can, and will be tracked. Keep it as a cash transaction – if at all possible.

OldEnglish on December 26, 2011 at 6:55 PM

If the toll has a cash or tag option, your license plate will still be recorded with a timestamp.

CorporatePiggy on December 26, 2011 at 7:27 PM

and what’s the other upinak?

CorporatePiggy on December 26, 2011 at 7:21 PM

You already pay it …. or maybe You don’t.

I pay it in my fuel costs, in transportation of fuel, and farking bonds n my house to FIX THE ROADS. Hello! Am I the only one on here who is tired of paying for crap over and over and over for the same crap because no one else is thinking about the taxes they pay?

Ugh.

upinak on December 26, 2011 at 7:27 PM

If the toll has a cash or tag option, your license plate will still be recorded with a timestamp.

CorporatePiggy on December 26, 2011 at 7:27 PM

Rentals are great for that. Oh and how about out of Stater’s? Or how about those who are from Out of Country… how do you purpose you “fine them” if they don’t pay?

*shakes head*

upinak on December 26, 2011 at 7:28 PM

You already pay it …. or maybe You don’t.

I pay it in my fuel costs, in transportation of fuel, and farking bonds n my house to FIX THE ROADS. Hello! Am I the only one on here who is tired of paying for crap over and over and over for the same crap because no one else is thinking about the taxes they pay?

Ugh.

upinak on December 26, 2011 at 7:27 PM

Calm down, dear and try to answer the question. Given limited resources how would you fund these new roads? It’s a zero sum equation – find extra ‘revenue’ (nudge) or come up with a way of reducing spending elsewhere…

CorporatePiggy on December 26, 2011 at 7:30 PM

TallDave on December 26, 2011 at 7:16 PM

I agree, and in order to keep those particular rich people’s lanes in the best of condition, we should require that only certain make/year/model vehicles be allowed access to those lanes. Perhaps even having a special privilege tag which a person could be granted by those in power to insure that those who are well connected are certain to have a faster and safer trip than the peons who in all honesty are actually paying the lions share of the transportation fees through gasoline taxes. Got to keep those lower class people in their place! Who knows, maybe we can get the lowlife’s back to walking on dirt paths or press packed into sardine cars.

astonerii on December 26, 2011 at 7:30 PM

OldEnglish on December 26, 2011 at 7:10 PM

I almost always enjoy reading your comments, and now that you’ve bared your paranoid soul, there is more meaning for me.

I think if you dig back 10 years or so, New York State litigated that timing between points issue and it was determined to be an invasion of privacy – but things change.

Do you use your cell phone from your easy chair?

ericdijon on December 26, 2011 at 7:32 PM

Pretty much the only new limited access highways being built right now in Texas are toll roads — none part of the interstate system, though 183-A north of Austin is part of the U.S. highway network. But they are all new roads, and in the case of Austin’s should-have-been-built-35-years-ago loop network and the Texas 130 bypass, desperately needed.

The interesting one is going to be the reaction to Texas 375 in El Paso, where they’re taking an existing free highway and X-ing out one lane to be the express toll lane. Not much yelping right now, but once the work gets closer to completion, we’ll see if drivers will be willing/comfortable with basically having a toll HOV lane on their road.

jon1979 on December 26, 2011 at 7:32 PM

If the toll has a cash or tag option, your license plate will still be recorded with a timestamp.

CorporatePiggy on December 26, 2011 at 7:27 PM

I thought I made it clear that tags can be used to track movement around a large area – not just at the toll booth. It is, in fact, a bugging device, and has been used as such.

OldEnglish on December 26, 2011 at 7:35 PM

Calm down, dear and try to answer the question. Given limited resources how would you fund these new roads? It’s a zero sum equation – find extra ‘revenue’ (nudge) or come up with a way of reducing spending elsewhere…

CorporatePiggy on December 26, 2011 at 7:30 PM

I already told you… I have bonds on my house that morons, such as yourself, vote on to fix roads. Why6 am I paying tax on my house to fix roads?

You obviously didn’t read it…. talk about lack of observation.

upinak on December 26, 2011 at 7:35 PM

I live in Florida and I have a SunPass on all my autos. The tolls can be annoying, but they are less annoying than a state income tax.

SlaveDog on December 26, 2011 at 7:36 PM

I have been of the same opinion for a long time that I would much rather pay more in tolls than in gas taxes but had always thought that I was probably pretty alone in that opinion even among conservatives. Good to hear I’m not crazy after all ;)

Glenn Jericho on December 26, 2011 at 7:37 PM

Yeah those lovely well maintained and efficient NJ and PA turnpikes. And the tolls around Chicago. Yeah right. /s

Caststeel on December 26, 2011 at 7:38 PM

SlaveDog on December 26, 2011 at 7:36 PM

Do you commute to work?

I am self employed, so I get to write it off. Everyone else? heh.

bazil9 on December 26, 2011 at 7:39 PM

How about the interstate going into Orlando with a Toll that you can’t pay because the morons are doing it all via that stupid little sticker and will take a pic and give a ticket to those who don’t have one. Talk about ticking off the tourists who don’t know about it and want to take their family to Disney!

upinak on December 26, 2011 at 6:48 PM

Aw, you’ve traveled our notorious Beeline Expressway I take it. Not only do they “nickle and dime you”, the tolls are so close together that just about the time you get back up to doing 55mph, you have to stop to pay another one. Talk about wasting fuel. Unless you’re a local and know the side streets, the Beeline’s the only way to get to and from the Orlando airport, which everyone I know avoids using at all costs.

Flora Duh on December 26, 2011 at 7:39 PM

ericdijon on December 26, 2011 at 7:32 PM

First: thank you for the compliment. :)

Second: Australia, where I live, does not bother with privacy when it impedes govt control.

Third: My mobile phone is basically for emergency calls – when I need help.

The cost of making mobile calls prevents me from even considering using it at home, where my landline is.

Finally: i hate phones – they’re intrusive upon my pontifications. :)

OldEnglish on December 26, 2011 at 7:41 PM

Americans want more tolls, not higher taxes

YES! Absolutely.

User fees okay. More taxes no way. Goes for parks, roads, everything. Use it or lose it. Let the market decide.

petefrt on December 26, 2011 at 7:42 PM

astonerii on December 26, 2011 at 7:30 PM

No, we should outlaw nice cars entirely, because if poor people can’t have something, rich people shouldn’t be allowed to have it either.

What is this, Hot Air or The Nation?

TallDave on December 26, 2011 at 7:54 PM

Finally: i hate phones – they’re intrusive upon my pontifications. :)

OldEnglish on December 26, 2011 at 7:41 PM

Yes, phones are intrusive. Phones make time management all but impossible. A couple years ago, I restructured my business communications: Anybody can reach me about anything via email. But nobody can reach me about anything by phone.

Now once again, I have control over my life.

petefrt on December 26, 2011 at 7:55 PM

Flora Duh on December 26, 2011 at 7:39 PM

I have family all over Florida so I have been all over the roads when I go. The tolls don’t bother me unless you get into a congested area and then I just say Why?

I get that the tolls help STATE maintained roads.. Federal, on the other hand, they need to get their crap together.

upinak on December 26, 2011 at 8:01 PM

We already pay an income tax.

We already pay a gasoline tax.

Why should we pay for government services AT ALL?

This stuff is already funded by the people, for the people and with tax money from the people and if government can’t figure out how to run these things then they should be given over to the private sector to run. That means some things WILL fail and if they are not part of the constitutional mandate upon our government then I will be glad to see them go.

Stop the nickel and diming: we already pay for this stuff and if they can’t manage it efficiently on taxes then government should stop DOING IT.

I’m willing to pay a toll to a competative private enterprise, but not to government that already robs us all blind and still goes in the hole. There is very little government MUST DO and those things are spelled out. The rest can be divested, sold off or just plain ended and if there is anything of value the private sector can figure out how to run it or go under trying.

ajacksonian on December 26, 2011 at 8:06 PM

petefrt on December 26, 2011 at 7:55 PM

A fellow sufferer – with a good solution.

OldEnglish on December 26, 2011 at 8:09 PM

Second: Australia, where I live, does not bother with privacy when it impedes govt control.

OldEnglish on December 26, 2011 at 7:41 PM

That is so sad to hear. But I’ve heard it before. You guys were the champions of individual freedom until lately. I always counted on Australia as my last refuge, until lately. Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery.

I’m still an Aussie at heart. And a Canadian conservative too. My two fave folks. Let the Euro socialists rot their hearts out. Their socialista time is finally blowing up.

petefrt on December 26, 2011 at 8:09 PM

No, we should outlaw nice cars entirely, because if poor people can’t have something, rich people shouldn’t be allowed to have it either.

What is this, Hot Air or The Nation?

TallDave on December 26, 2011 at 7:54 PM

Your idea that the way out of our mess is to allow the rich to just simply pay their way out of a problem is quite the conservative argument. Maybe if they and they alone paid for the specific lane, which could not be created using the eminent domain power of the government, I would not have a problem with your statement. But, since your talking about taking an existing already paid for through everyone’s taxes lane or two out of commission in order to allow the rich to get to work on time smacks of elitism, not capitalism and certainly not democracy.

There is an accident on the interstate near downtown. There are three people in traffic already cutting it close getting to their destination on time without the accident. Talldave the rich man with tens of thousands of ten dollar bills in his backseat, Mom with her two kids on the way to drop them off at their catholic school who earns no money as a stay at home mother and Charlie McDonald, a fast food restaurant worker that earns $8.50 and hour. Talldave argues that he is way too important to be held up and be late for work, so that means the government should come along and kick everyone out of the far left lane so he and his other elite rich people can drive unmolested by the losers, who by the way now are not going to be held up for say the half hour they otherwise would, but with another lane taken out of commission for high traffic loads, closer to two hours.

Never mind the fact that those lanes were built with Stay-at-home moms taxes and McDonald’s taxes as well as Talldave’s taxes, Talldave is more important, he can just buy himself out of traffic, while they will be forced to spend additional time in traffic they otherwise would have avoided. Now, if you can propose a way to build those roads without government imminent domain abuse and a total separation of tax dollars and fee dollars, and they are in fact new additional lanes that would not have otherwise been built by the government, I can be happy for Talldave the elitist enjoying his fast paced drive into his office. Outside that, not so much.

astonerii on December 26, 2011 at 8:14 PM

I’m willing to pay a toll to a competitive private enterprise, but not to government that already robs us all blind and still goes in the hole.
ajacksonian on December 26, 2011 at 8:06 PM

Thank you. That clarification was definitely needed.

petefrt on December 26, 2011 at 8:14 PM

I’m willing to pay a toll to a competitive private enterprise, but not to government that already robs us all blind and still goes in the hole.
ajacksonian on December 26, 2011 at 8:06 PM

Talldave can learn something from you. Cheers.

astonerii on December 26, 2011 at 8:19 PM

Thank you. That clarification was definitely needed.

petefrt on December 26, 2011 at 8:14 PM

YVW!

I’ve had it with this ‘user fee’ business: I’m already paying a fee to government called taxes. I expect a useful and thrifty government for that money it extracts. Wanting more from me, you or any taxpayer to do things is extortion, pure and simple.

ajacksonian on December 26, 2011 at 8:20 PM

I’ve had it with this ‘user fee’ business: I’m already paying a fee to government called taxes. I expect a useful and thrifty government for that money it extracts. Wanting more from me, you or any taxpayer to do things is extortion, pure and simple.

ajacksonian on December 26, 2011 at 8:20 PM

I do not see the toll road fees as user fees. I see them as privileged fees. The lanes are always built on the tax payer dime, every single time.

astonerii on December 26, 2011 at 8:24 PM

Tolls in IL have become a moneypit. The tollway authority is appointed and only has the responsibility to not be caught in in the pay to play deals and kickbacks. That is why the top SWB of the top folks are VERY nice. It’s why they are always repaving. It’s why they have raised tolls instead of cancelling them “when the road was paid for”. Toll road might be a good idea if there was some accountability to the voters (besides keeping the toll roads under repair). In IL there isn’t. It is another bureaucracy that spends everything it gets and has no incentive to cut costs.

In the 70′s I was at Amoco. They developed a plastic reenforcing product for asphalt to greatly extend the life of a paving job. They couldn’t sell it in the US because we are in the business of repaving regularly every couple years. Tripling the life of the pavement would mess up contractor profits. Until we make road paving contractors guarantee their work, instead of just taking the “lowest” bidder, we will keep pouring money down this drain.

KenInIL on December 26, 2011 at 8:26 PM

I do not see the toll road fees as user fees. I see them as privileged fees. The lanes are always built on the tax payer dime, every single time.

astonerii on December 26, 2011 at 8:24 PM

If government would let private enterprise run the right-of-ways and build the roads and run them, then I have zero problem with tolls. When it is bought, paid for, and maintained on the public dime, then it is already paid for. If government can’t figure out how to do it, then that should be given to the private sector to figure out.

Paying for the privilege on a privately run road on public lands is one thing.

Paying for it on a publicly run road on public land is quite another.

ajacksonian on December 26, 2011 at 8:30 PM

If government would let private enterprise run the right-of-ways and build the roads and run them, then I have zero problem with tolls. When it is bought, paid for, and maintained on the public dime, then it is already paid for. If government can’t figure out how to do it, then that should be given to the private sector to figure out.

Paying for the privilege on a privately run road on public lands is one thing.

Paying for it on a publicly run road on public land is quite another.

ajacksonian on December 26, 2011 at 8:30 PM

I am agreeing with you, see my above comment.

I say they are not user fees, but privilege fees because they take existing for public use things and allow a privileged group access to it for special use. It is why I can never get behind government made toll roads. It is why I ripped on Talldave so hard about his argument that during high traffic periods lanes be reserved for big payers.

astonerii on December 26, 2011 at 8:40 PM

Why do you need a toll, when you already pay hundreds of dollars into the system for roads and maintenance?

Because you don’t pay enough gasoline tax, etc., to maintain the current roads and build new ones. The tolls are a supplement: if you did away with tolls, the gasoline tax would have to go up for the same level of service.

I live in the Chicago area, and we have several toll roads. I use the I-355 on a frequent basis, and it’s worth the toll to avoid the congestion and back roads. That expressway would never have been built if it had depended on the state gasoline tax.

Steve White on December 26, 2011 at 8:47 PM

I live in the Chicago area, and we have several toll roads. I use the I-355 on a frequent basis, and it’s worth the toll to avoid the congestion and back roads. That expressway would never have been built if it had depended on the state gasoline tax.

Steve White on December 26, 2011 at 8:47 PM

Do the tolls pay for the entire road and its upkeep, or does it supplement the tax dollars of the regular people who are not allowed access to it without a fee?
If it is completely 100% funded without tax payer dollars, I do not care, but chances are the tax payers paid for the construction of the road.

astonerii on December 26, 2011 at 8:52 PM

petefrt on December 26, 2011 at 8:09 PM

Thank you for your kind thoughts – unfortunately, we seem to be going the way of Europe, of late.

This is the prime reason for championing America – still the last bastion of freedom.

OldEnglish on December 26, 2011 at 9:05 PM

We need to privatize our major highways like the Germans and Italians do. Their infrastructure is ten times what ours is.

Dunedainn on December 26, 2011 at 9:21 PM

In New York/New Jersey with the Port Authority, they raise tolls and taxes!

hadsil on December 26, 2011 at 9:38 PM

Come on guys. We deride the Democrats for not calling a tax a tax, and then we say that tolls on roads built by the government aren’t taxes? Puhleeze.

The argument that only rich people paying the tolls benefit from there being toll roads is ridiculous. If more people are on the toll road, then less people are in the public lanes, and traffic moves easier. Unless someone has a compelling argument how traffic patterns are not a zero-sum game? That’s only really true if there are alternatives, and at least in the Washington DC metro area, that’s really not true. The subway here costs $4.75 to park and, on average, more than $7 for a round-trip commute (and sometimes more than $10). The time spent is roughly comparable, considering that the subway must stop at a ton of stations before it gets to the one you want. So the only people who take the subway are people who get free/subsidized subway tickets as a perk of employment (cough, government employees, cough). The argument that all of a sudden, congestion will go away if we charge $10 to use the toll lanes is moot when people pay $10 to sit crammed like sardines into a noisy subway car every day.

Raise taxes on everyone and build more lanes for everyone, or don’t. Sure, build a lane or two in each direction and charge a traffic-flow-adjusted toll to make sure people can get through in emergencies, but don’t treat it as the cure for cancer.

solatic on December 26, 2011 at 9:40 PM

But if you build better highways, who will ride the new ObamaBidentrains?

OldEnglish on December 26, 2011 at 9:48 PM

Reason/Rupe poll: Americans want more tolls, not higher taxes

I reject the either/or premise, current revenues can easily build and maintain roads if not for other insane spending programs by our government(s).

RJL on December 26, 2011 at 9:55 PM

They taxed cigarettes to stop people from smoking and used the funds on yearly programs. The result was people stopping smoking and the funds drying up. Similarly, they push people to electric vehicles and more efficient vehicles, which causes less purchases of gasand in return less funds to fix highways. Tolls are the future.

LoganSix on December 26, 2011 at 9:57 PM

Why do you need a toll, when you already pay hundreds of dollars into the system for roads and maintenance? You do realize this.. right? And it isn’t just Federal, but State and county as well.
upinak on December 26, 2011 at 6:53 PM

Exactly!
This appears to be a poll among the clueless, please tell us how would you prefer to be shafted?

77 percent of Americans oppose increasing the federal gas tax, 19 percent favor raising it;

What percentage wants to know what the gas tax money has been spent on? We know it wasn’t spent on infrastructure so what was it spent on?

59 percent of Americans say they would pay to use a toll road if it saved them “significant” time;
- 57 percent support converting HOV lanes into HOT lanes;
- 50 percent oppose, and 39 percent support, variably-priced tolls;
- 33 percent say transit should get a slice of the funding pie that exceeds its ridership share and 33 percent say it should get funding equal to its ridership share

What percentage of these people know they are currently spending on avg $0.43 per gallon for these things they want and don’t have

DSchoen on December 26, 2011 at 10:59 PM

Just think of all the tool booth workers that can be unionized.

Archivarix on December 26, 2011 at 11:09 PM

Just think of all the tool booth workers that can be unionized.

Archivarix on December 26, 2011 at 11:09 PM

Bingo! The real reason for tolls: unions, graft, and laundering. It’s never about the roadway.

Tolls = tax on our freedom of movement.

Plus the anti-voterID folks should object to roadway tolls for the same bogus reasons they use. “denied access to freeways hits minorities the hardest” or something like that…

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on December 26, 2011 at 11:48 PM

Thank you DSchoen! Here Here….

DSchoen on December 26, 2011 at 10:59 PM

Reading some of the posts were driving me nuts. Especially the few people that posted from the the bigger cities.

mr_west on December 27, 2011 at 12:12 AM

astonerii on December 26, 2011 at 8:14 PM

No, you didn’t read carefully enough. What I said was

Now, some people would happily pay $10 to avoid half an hour of sitting in traffic. Others would not. If we allow private congestion priced express lanes, we can build additional lanes for the people willing to pay.

These are additional, privately financed lanes — no new taxes. This is something Reason has been talking about doing for years and years. There are proposals floating around to build elevated lanes in the congested areas over existing highways (so no eminent domain needed).

Again, this doesn’t hurt anyone else — in fact, it makes everyone’s commute easier, because taking those people willing to pay out of the flow of traffic makes it easier for everyone else.

Get off your OWS “hate the rich” soapbox and start thinking like a free marketer, please.

TallDave on December 27, 2011 at 7:44 AM

ajacksonian on December 26, 2011 at 8:30 PM

Exactly, the gov’t is terrible at this kind of thing, largely because they’re captive to the demagoguery of the OWS types who will always complain that market pricing unfairly favors the productive in virtually any context. That’s why the roads are such a mess — they’re like one big rent-controlled neighborhood where everything is “free.” The results are exactly what Hayek would predict.

Also, for the record, I drive maybe six miles a day, round trip, on back roads. This has absolutely no effect on my life.

TallDave on December 27, 2011 at 7:58 AM

The Federal (and here, a State gas tax too) fuel tax is supposed to be a “user fee” set aside for those very infrastructure programs, roads and bridges, etc. Last I checked, each State negotiates how much tax money the Feds return to them based upon the percentage it takes in and the number of Interstate miles in the State. Some States use the money wisely, while others don’t.

That Said …
I traveled a toll road for three years (I-44 across Oklahoma) with a “fast pass” on my windshield so I never had to stop and pay tolls. Immediately, at the Missouri border, the toll road ends and the FEDERAL highway across the State is so bad it’s embarrassing.
(still not as bad as the Fed highways feeding Detroit)

I would be in favor of all Interstate Highways charging a toll only if the roadway was built like the German Autobahn – a whopping 23″ deep concrete if I’m not mistaken. Now look at how cheaply American highways are constructed. IF the highways in America were built with integrity and longevity in mind, a raise in the Fed gas tax would be justifiable. The roads last for decades with only minor repairs, and I don’t mean “cold patches”. The Germans cut out an entire 6-8 meter section to repair a crack, the rare pot hole, and rough spots.

Drive I-44 across Missouri some time and then tell me where the gas tax goes. It sure isn’t being spent on the roads.

~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on December 27, 2011 at 8:53 AM

The Bay Bridge connecting San Francisco and Oakland must have 20 toll booths manned 24/7. When I lived out there (late 70s) I understood that 80% of the toll revenue went to pay for the toll takers wages, benefits, etc. Only 20% went to bridge maintenance. Can any current Californians shed some light on this?

jb34461 on December 27, 2011 at 9:41 AM

I like toll roads in theory. I hate them in practice.

I live in the land of the evil NTTA. The NTTA is nothing more than a prime example of cronyism with the state. Their mission is to keep increasing their budget. To do this, they waste as much money as they can, then beg the state for permission to increase toll rates. The state is happy to oblige.

Where I live, I’m landlocked unless I take toll roads or residential streets with a million school zones and traffic lights. I have to take the toll roads to get to work. So much for offering me a choice. This privilege costs me about $180 per month over and above what I pay in other infrastructure taxes.

Because other commuters are similarly situated, toll roads are no faster than other highways. Everyone has to use them, so everyone does use them. They are horribly congested.

stvnscott on December 27, 2011 at 12:49 PM

I reject the either/or premise, current revenues can easily build and maintain roads if not for other insane spending programs by our government(s).

RJL on December 26, 2011 at 9:55 PM

And if they would stop “borrowing” from the fund (which they somehow never have to pay it back)

cptacek on December 27, 2011 at 1:13 PM

In an ideal world this is a good idea, but alas what really will happen is they will add the tolls, still raise taxes and use the money to draw up plans for the high speed transcontinental railroad, golden spike included, with lots and lots of environmental studies.

William Eaton on December 27, 2011 at 11:54 PM

I agree William, that’s why privately run toll roads are the best option.

TallDave on December 28, 2011 at 8:18 AM

toll roads built before 1995 were build with out highway trust funds, in 1995 the law prohibiting the use of highway trust funds was repealed. they were supposed to return to freeways when the bonds used for construction were paid off, most have been paid off for several decades, but the politician seeing the cash cow they have become are going to continue the tolls.

RonK on December 28, 2011 at 10:16 AM