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Perhaps the Dailykos community could help me out with something. It is early and the coffee at work tastes even worse than usual, thus my brain is not working quite right and cannot seem to make a decision on if this is a good/bad thing:

Feds plan to let states toll interstate highways to pay for reconstruction

The U.S. Department of Transportation on Tuesday asked Congress to end the prohibition on tolling existing interstate highways as a way of paying for their reconstruction, marking a major shift away from how the system has been funded for decades.

The proposal is part of President Barack Obama’s $302 billion infrastructure bill aimed at addressing a looming shortfall in the federal Highway Trust Fund. States are currently able to toll interstates only to add lanes, but many simply don’t have the funds they need to widen or rebuild the oldest sections of interstate, and nor does the federal government.
We all know the US Highway system is falling apart. It is old, overused and in desperate need of repairs. More than 63,000 bridges are in need of some form of help, many being deemed 'structurally deficient'. Just yesterday a bridge collapse caused a train derailment.  

But is a toll the solution? Would these tolls be privatized like so many others throughout the country, with portions of the revenue being syphoned off for profit?  Would they be temporary, would the harm low income workers? Would high-road traffic businesses get some sort of exemption/special  in the same way that they get for mass-mailings so in a way we the people pay more? Wouldn't it just be better to collect all the billions in unpaid taxes from the corporations that have used our highway system but feel no need to invest in a new one? Can't we just end some loopholes for billionares?  Aren't these 'shovel ready jobs' just crying out for a new  stimulus?

Libertarians are for it and at least some business seems to be against, which puts me in the awkward position of agreeing a bit with both...

 dailykos, thoughts?

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Comment Preferences

  •  If all the Bundy's of the world (28+ / 0-)

    were actually made to pay what they owe, how many miles of highway could be built?

    If you stand for nothing you will fall for anything.

    by LieparDestin on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 05:01:51 AM PDT

    •  The interstates here have an exit every few miles (5+ / 0-)

      how are you going to put up toll plazas?  A lot of money for the toll plazas and cameras and employees and new entrance and exit roads. A new toll road, I get that, but converting existing  interstates to toll just doesn't seem feasible. How about a use tax? It could be collected on car and truck registrations, with tiered fees for weight. JMO

      •  These days, they don't use toll plazas. Technology (8+ / 0-)

        allows tolling per mile via transponder, and even allows rates to vary depending on time of day and level of congestion.

        I'm not necessarily endorsing "intelligent tolling", because it smacks of even more surveillance, but the issue of tollbooths has diminished.

        The bigger issue is what you said first:

        The interstates here have an exit every few miles...
        That is the bigger problem. The legitimate vision of the interstate system as an arterial network for long-haul travel has been hijacked by the corrupt (sorry to be redundant) real estate development industry. The whole concept of urban loops - I-285 in Atlanta, for example, and I-485 in Charlotte - funded and signed as interstates while serving as nothing but sprawl and congestion generators and profit-machines for land speculators and developers is anathema to the whole concept of sensible transportation solutions. Now, the interstate system is being used increasingly for single-occupant hops from one set of big-box strip shopping centers to another set of the same thing a mile down the road at the next exit.

        A disgusting and inexcusable waste of increasingly scarce transportation funding!

        "Bernie Madoff's mistake was stealing from the rich. If he'd stolen from the poor he'd have a cabinet position." -OPOL

        by blue in NC on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 07:42:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I-95 has tolls in Northern MD and in DE (3+ / 0-)

        There aren't toll plazas at the exits as on the Jersey or PA turnpikes.  You just pay a toll at a certain point on the interstate.  It's the same for everyone and not prorated by miles.  Some of the tolls are only on the northbound side of the interstate.  

        Also--toll plazas are no longer needed.  We have a new highway that has no toll plazas.  EZPass is scanned as you are going onto the highway at 55 mph.  If you don't have EZ pass then you get a bill in the mail and your toll is 50% higher.  It's a road mainly used by commuters.

        “It is the job of the artist to think outside the boundaries of permissible thought and dare say things that no one else will say."—Howard Zinn

        by musiclady on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 08:24:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  In many places... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FarWestGirl

        they just build a toll booth oasis across all lanes and charge everyone a flat fee (not distance based).

      •  We already pay a "use tax" - it's the fed gas tax (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FarWestGirl

        As you point out, setting up a toll systems costs tons of money.. Simply raise the gas tax and be done with it.

    •  We need to raise the gas tax (18+ / 0-)

      The federal gas tax has not been raised in 19 years. It's a fraction of what it should be, get everyone treats and third rail. Until we bring in serious money to repair and maintain existing infrastructure, anything else will be insufficient.

      The first human being who insulted his enemy instead of throwing a rock at him was the founder of civilization. - Freud

      by Dhavo on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 07:31:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  THIS!!!!! ^ ^ ^ (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joe from Lowell, mconvente

        "Bernie Madoff's mistake was stealing from the rich. If he'd stolen from the poor he'd have a cabinet position." -OPOL

        by blue in NC on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 07:43:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  So many people can barely afford their fuel as it (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sillycarrot

          is. Raising the gas tax would hurt blue collar workers who have to depend on POV for transportation. Remember not every state is super supportive of public transportation and many do not practice good urban planning to avoid urban sprawl.

          "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

          by GreenMother on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 08:30:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Except we have a fiat currency, and taxes (3+ / 0-)

        don't fund fed gov spending.

        No matter how many dollars we wring out of the common folk, it's just not how our monetary system works.

        States, on the other hand, must earn their dollars, just like any currency   USER.

        The fed gov, however, is never rich, poor, or saving for a rainy day.

        It just creates dollars out of thin air when it purchases from, or makes grants to, the private sector, and marks up private bank accounts.

        You too wouldn't need to tax the common folk in order to spend if you had a money making machine.

        But whatever.

      •  I think we do need to raise that... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joe from Lowell

        but with the rise of electric vehicles and others that would be able to escape this tax, I think we do need to use tolls and increased license fees to make sure that all who use help to pay. In the future, I would definitely be for a "per mile" fee that everyone would pay once the technology to do that is proven.

      •  Oh yeah: Let's tax those that live in rural areas (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sillycarrot, LieparDestin

        that have to drive further to their minimum wage jobs.  That's fair.........?

        “My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that, and I intend to end up there." - Rumi

        by LamontCranston on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 09:11:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Dhavo - a nickle a year increase in the gas tax (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Betty Pinson, denise b

        for ten years and then pause at 50 cents/gal. and see if it needs to be higher. All the new funds going to road construction, repair and improvements.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 10:02:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Let's ask this question (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          VClib, LieparDestin

          Your plan for a nickel a year increase...

          1.  Does it raise enough quickly enough to stay even with the rate of inherent/incipient highway deterioration, or is it enough to make an acceleration of highway system system restoration achievements?

          2.  After the design achievement goal on highway system restoration is set, understood or determined, what effect will the increase in taxes have on annual fuels consumption, and how will the national rate of consumption trend after you make this decision?

          3.  After considering #1 and #2, you then have to come down on a policy decision of what highway construction technique and standards should be used.   And there is the all important global warming greenhouse gas emission control decision to make, and that is what priority road building material to use in order to minimize overall system greenhouse gas emissions....no small policy problem between asphalt and cement, including both virgin materials and recycled materials.

          4. Next consider trends in highway traffic after making improvements, and the policy problem of diverting tax funds raised to greenfields growth encouragement in city fringes, thus increasing demand for highway transportation in a time of higher gasoline prices.

          5.  Finally, make a decision about whether a nickel a gallon per year increase in the gasoline tax would decrease gasoline consumption in order to control greenhouse gas emissions to meet global warming control goals.

          Progressive Democrats need to be about, and do, national governance [as this is what Daily Kos is all about].

          At the same time as Democrats carry out that kind of national governance, Dems also have to carry out their public trust responsibilities for global atmospheric air quality management in the manner needed that will be effective in making significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.   The legal, policy, science and engineering challenges on carrying this all out on a national scale are daunting.

          Democrats need to be thinking about all of these types of decisions processes all of the time as a priority challenge.

      •  How about lower the subsidies? A little... (hehee) (0+ / 0-)

        & use that "diverted" cash to build & repair infrastructure?

        High speed trains linking major metro areas would be soo damn sweet! NYC to Chicago in 3hrs! Chicago to Austin in 4ish! Austin to the Orange Curtain... What.. we are already here?

        First 10 years free for 99% passengers? ;) Okay... twenty.

  •  If it isn't privatized and made for profit then... (14+ / 0-)

    I think it's a good thing.  If the money is siphoned off and paid to stockholders, then it will be abused and expensive.

    The most un-convincable man is the one whose paycheck depends on remaining unconvinced. -- H. L. Mencken

    by kharma on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 05:06:48 AM PDT

    •  In a way (20+ / 0-)

      I think raising the gas tax would be better as a whole. I realize this would piss more people off, but all the big companies have to buy gas regardless of what roads they drive on, guaranteeing income going into the highway funding. All these companies would find ways to route their vehicles to different/cheaper routes never intended for such heavy traffic.

      But even as I typed that I was conflicted and changed my mind a dozen times.

      What it comes down to I think, is... I need coffee.

      If you stand for nothing you will fall for anything.

      by LieparDestin on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 05:10:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  States are short on money for roads (14+ / 0-)

        and the GOP will never support raising the gas tax. It's too easy for them to run ads against Democrats for raising the gas tax by a damned nickel - even though the price of gas is up ten times that much since December due to 'market forces'.

        I'd prefer a vehicle weight-based tax where a 80,000 pound tractor trailer pays 20 times what a 4,000 pound passenger car pays. After all, it's those heavy trucks that cause the vast majority of the damage to our roads.

        Election Day is Nov 4th, 2014 It's time for the Undo button on the 2010 Election.

        by bear83 on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 05:56:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Tractor trailers already pay higher (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LieparDestin, mconvente, Betty Pinson

          Just look at the tolls for any major bridge. Cars pay flat, all else pay per axle.

          http://www.panynj.gov/...

          •  They may be paying a higher amount (8+ / 0-)

            but they are not paying an amount that is proportional to the wear and tear they cause on the road.

            In reality, most long-haul shipping really belongs on the railroads anyway.

            Election Day is Nov 4th, 2014 It's time for the Undo button on the 2010 Election.

            by bear83 on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 07:21:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  In this case, you'd have to revise (8+ / 0-)

              your linear weight/toll rate idea (posted above):

              they are not paying an amount that is proportional to the wear and tear they cause on the road.
              For example, instead of paying 20x more, a truck should pay 9,6000 more:
              Heavy trucks obviously cause more road damage than cars, but how much more? According to a GAO study, Excessive Truck Weight: An Expensive Burden We Can No Longer Afford, road damage from one 18-wheeler is equivalent to 9600 cars (p.23 of study, p.36 of PDF).

              The study assumed a fully loaded tractor-trailer at 80,000 pounds, and a typical passenger car at 4,000 pounds. That’s 20 times difference in weight, but the wear and tear caused by the truck is exponentially greater.

              link
              •  I'm fine with that (5+ / 0-)

                Why should trucking companies get to socialize their costs off on everyone else? Cheap shipping is one of the things that makes shipping US manufacturing overseas profitable.

                Election Day is Nov 4th, 2014 It's time for the Undo button on the 2010 Election.

                by bear83 on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 07:44:32 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Consumers are going to pay one way or another! (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  mattc129

                  And about your point about cheap shipping, what is cheap is putting containers on ships and even rail and moving products vast distances.

                  It is local distribution where costs really start adding up.

                •  Most of your frozen food is shipped by truck (5+ / 0-)

                  And, so, true, those of us who eat ice cream or frozen meals or frozen vegetables or bagels should actually have to bear the cost, so multiply by 9,600 the cost to your pint of Haagen Daz.  

                  Most fresh foods are also trucked great distance by reefers, so multiply by 9,600 for your onions or apple or fresh squeezed orange juice.

                  Unless you grow your own food and livestock and make your own bread and ice cream or frozen yogurt, or your neighbor does and you stock your larder directly from the source that you can walk or drive yourself, you are eating subsidized meals.  

                  Myself, I don't drive often (I don't like driving) and I live in a rural area and buy much from local farms and producers, but my tax dollars subsidize all those roads driven by commuters at a rate greater than I use.  But same thing with the local public school, I subsidize that with my property taxes and I don't have kids.  I think the objective is that we all take a clear-eyed look at what we consume of the resources that are being subsidized by others (who don't use them or use them less) and with this kind of humility turn to each other and ask what is fair and right as a shared society.  

                  I don't mind paying for schools I never use or roads I don't drive on, or college grants, or medicaid for the disabled, or to clean up water in a place I don't live, I just want us to think about fairness and proportionality within our entire social contract.  And in my view, the very wealthiest have gamed the system and used that to fix the system exempting themselves from tax and unfairly insulating themselves from risk but keeping all profit by cheating and rigging the game at our expense.

                  "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of these United States of America -9.75 -6.87

                  by Uncle Moji on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 09:10:50 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Math: (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Kevskos, Betty Pinson, bear83

                Pavement damage is calculated via converting everything to a standard level, known as the "Equivalent Single-Axle Load " (ESAL). A table with values can be seen here: http://www.pavementinteractive.org/...

                Anyway, for an evenly loaded semi that weighs around 90,000 lb, the ESAL calculation would look something like this:
                90,000 lb / 5 axles = 18,000 lb/axle
                Then we look that value up in the table. The semi's front axle is a single (one wheel on each side) axle, so it's ESAL value is 1.0.
                The four rear axles are tandem (two wheels on each side), axles, so they are 0.109 ESAL each.

                The total ESAL value for that one truck, therefore, is 1.436.

                A typical car, around 4,000 lb, would have two single axles with 2,000lbs each, and it'd have a total ESAL value of 0.0006.

                The example truck, therefore, is 2393 times more damaging than the car.

                What makes this more complicated is that as axle loads increase, the ESAL value increases at a huge rate.
                A single axle with 20,000 lbs, for example does almost as much damage (1.4 ESAL) as the example truck.
                A single axle with 30,000 lbs would do far more damage (7.9 ESAL, about 5.6x) than the example truck, and 13500 times the damage of the example car.

                So although we hear a lot about wear and tear on the roads, for the most part, cars have nothing to do with it. If you get ten semis per day on a road, they've probably done more damage than everything else that drove on that road that day, and overweight trucks can really make a mess of things.

                "He who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."

                by Hayate Yagami on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 09:00:54 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  That is for certain. (3+ / 0-)

              Where I live we are constantly repairing roads from tractor trailer damage.  They leave ripples and dips that later become potholes and bubbles during heat and cold.

              They leave so many ripples in the pavement near stop signs that it's hard for cars to stop, you end up skipping like a stone on the peaks.

              I think that states and the federal government should do a serious audit. I know that OK is famous for it's roads and bridges being in poor repair, and the money that should be available isn't and then later taken from the Education fund to cover only basic repairs.

              "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

              by GreenMother on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 08:34:12 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  How about a mileage surcharge tax (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              cville townie, bear83

              on long distance trucking. Trips over 150 miles get socked with a 5 cents per mile surcharge. Make them pay so the freight goes on trains anyway.

              And if the 250,000 mile long rail infrastructure present in 1920 is restored to its historic extent even a lot of local shipping could be moved by rail.

      •  Check out NPR's story on this from yesterday (27+ / 0-)

        morning.

        It's a privatization scheme, based upon the premise that the fed gov has "run out of money" and can no longer give states money for roads, like they used to.

        Of course no one at NPR questions the assertion that a monetary sovereign of a fiat currency (dollars created out of thin air) can run out of the dollars, which it merely creates out of thin air.

    •  NPR had a long story on this yesterday. It's (26+ / 0-)

      a privatization plan.

      Pure and simple.

      Cuz, you know, the fed gov used to be able to guild roads and bridges, but since we've run out of money, now the private sector must take over.

      Never mind that the US creates dollars out of thin air, and can never run out of accounting marks (dollars, our unit of monetary measure).

      •  If privatization were prohibited (15+ / 0-)

        ... I'd be in favor of the tolls.  Gas tax hikes are relatively unlikely given the fossil fuel industry hold on both parties, and user fees (i.e. tolls) are a more equitable way to pay for highway repairs than general revenue (which is how bonds would be paid for).  

        Making highways more expensive might just lead to greater pressure for public transportation infrastructure in urban areas, too.  In the future at least, as tolls inevitably rise.

        We have always been at war with al Qaeda.

        by Dallasdoc on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 06:28:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It was clear from yesterday's NPR show, that it's (7+ / 0-)

          merely a privatization plan.

          No one was hiding this fact/intention.

          And no one questioned the absurd notion that the fed gov can run out of dollars, and so can no longer support states to maintain our national infrastructure.

          •  I don't doubt that it's a privatization plan (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            blue in NC, happymisanthropy

            Which should be fought tooth and nail, as almost every privatization plan should be.  The underlying concept of paying for highways with a toll system is not necessarily a bad one, however, if separated from privatization.

            We have always been at war with al Qaeda.

            by Dallasdoc on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 06:35:06 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, I'd say a better way to pay for it is to (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              greenbastard, fumie, Kevskos, wu ming

              have  the creator of dollars - the fed gov - mark up bank accounts in the private sector to buy resources and labor.

              Like how the highway system was paid for the first time around, when we understood better the significance of going off the gold standard for national settlement in the 30's.  Something labor fought hard for.

              Taxing labor to pay for free money only taxes labor for no reason.

              •  Tolls are taxing labor? (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                terrypinder, madcitysailor

                Is that what you're saying?  I don't think so. Tolls tax users of the highways.  If we want to get people to agitate for public transportation, taxing road users makes sense.  For climate change, it would be even better if electric vehicles were not charged a toll.  There are a lot of ways to make tolls benefit society.

                I have no clue what your first sentence means, I confess.

                We have always been at war with al Qaeda.

                by Dallasdoc on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 07:06:59 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I believe that "taxing labor" (7+ / 0-)

                  refers to the fact that many commuters would be impacted.  If you drive a route to work every day that is tolled, you're effectively paying a fee to drive to work.

                  It occasionally gets bandied about to drop toll booths on the Iowa side of the bridges over the Mississippi.  If you live in Davenport but work across the river in Moline, short of owning a boat or a helicopter how would you get to work without paying the toll?

                  And it's regressive, because it hits the people with lower incomes harder because it represents a bigger chunk of their income.

                  For that reason, I'm not wild about raising the gas tax either.

                  •  Tolls tax highway users (0+ / 0-)

                    They hit commuters harder, yes, but so would rising gas taxes.  But why shouldn't those who cause wear and tear on the system pay for repairing it?  Isn't it more fair than for general revenue to be used, which includes income from non-users or low users?

                    Regressive taxes aren't all bad:  cigarette taxes and some other sin taxes are examples.   This is a separate question from the overall tax burden in society, which definitely needs to be changed.

                    We have always been at war with al Qaeda.

                    by Dallasdoc on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 07:28:18 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  The national highway system (as opposed to state, (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Kevskos

                      perhaps), should be maintained by the fed gov creating new dollars out of thin air, so that local labor is hired to fix them up.

                      Every dollar is created out of thin air, and spent into the private sector when the public sector buys something from the private sector, or makes grants to the private sector  -   institutions, corporations, banks, or individuals.

                      What's certain is that new dollars   WILL   be spent into the private sector, so the private sector has dollars (net financial assets) to record a final payment in their private ledgers.

                      We can buy stuff from corporations, make grants to banks, or higher ed, or buy bombs from arms manufacturers.....

                      Or build infrastructure, or save the earth from burning up.

                      But assuming that taxes fund fed gov spending is upside down, and is damaging the cause of doing things like maintaining the commons, including our highways, and the health of the planet.

                    •  Well, an argument can be made (0+ / 0-)

                      than non-users benefit as well.

                      For example, even if I never put one tire of a motor vehicle onto an interstate highway in my life, many of the goods and services I use benefit from using the interstate.

                      And I may benefit by the interstate siphoning traffic off of other roads that I do use, reducing my travel times and congestion.

                      Even a shut in that doesn't drive at all benefits from good roads and streets.

                  •  I don't understand what you mean by (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    blue in NC

                    "a fee to go to work"

                    isn't that what I pay $87/mo for, for my bus pass?

                    Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility. uid 52583 lol

                    by terrypinder on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 07:30:15 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Not if your employer takes the tax break and (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Kevskos

                      either pays for it or subsidizes it.  Way cheaper than building and providing a parking space for each employee.

                      I'm part of the "bedwetting bunch of website Democrat base people (DKos)." - Rush Limbaugh, 10/16/2012 Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

                      by tom 47 on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 07:47:52 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  my employer does neither, though. (0+ / 0-)

                        Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility. uid 52583 lol

                        by terrypinder on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 07:49:26 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  and no provision for you to pay pre-tax? (0+ / 0-)

                          if there is a Flex plan, you should be able to take out funds for a transit pass pre-tax, and pay for your own pass before the money is taxed.  May not be an option offered.

                          I'm part of the "bedwetting bunch of website Democrat base people (DKos)." - Rush Limbaugh, 10/16/2012 Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

                          by tom 47 on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 09:28:37 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  oh...it's an issue we've complained about (0+ / 0-)

                            believe me! all sorts of excuses.

                            Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility. uid 52583 lol

                            by terrypinder on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 09:30:33 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  ask Accounting, or whoever does the taxes (0+ / 0-)

                            It is a corporate tax break, that also benefits and helps retain employees.

                            http://www.commuter-connection.org/...

                            Tax Benefits
                            Federal Tax Benefits
                            It’s called Commuter Choice because it gives employees an attractive alternative to driving to work alone – a real choice. Presently, an employer may give up to $220 a month, in eligible transportation costs tax-free to an employee. Participating employers lower their FICA and Federal income tax costs. The maximum tax-free benefit may increase each year based on increases in the cost of living. The Internal Revenue Service will announce any annual increase in the eligible tax-free amount. Commuter Choice may be used on public transit buses, trains, ferries and vanpools.

                            Not every employer can afford to pay for the full transportation benefit so the Commuter Choice has built-in flexibility.

                            I'm part of the "bedwetting bunch of website Democrat base people (DKos)." - Rush Limbaugh, 10/16/2012 Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

                            by tom 47 on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 10:54:23 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  i'm with a public agency... (0+ / 0-)

                            i'll check on it again though.

                            Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility. uid 52583 lol

                            by terrypinder on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 11:53:07 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                •  1st sentence: The fed gov is creates dollars out (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  greenbastard, ozsea1

                  of thin air, so we have dollars to fund our incomes.

                  A portion of our incomes are taxed, taking dollars out of circulation.

                  Taxes don't fund fed gov spending.

                  The rest:  If the purpose of tolling is to punish drivers (the vast majority of whom are workers), then that's one thing.

                  Unfortunately, however, this will not lead to more public transportation, as the tolling scheme being discussed is a privatization scheme.

                  Pure and simple.

                  And if anything will lead to private mass transit schemes.

                  While even this might be good for the environment, it would be better if we realized that money is just a measuring tool, like inches.

                  Money is merely a system of laws, which we create and can always change.

                  And we  can always afford to save the earth.

                  •  I really don't get what you mean here... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    katiec

                    just make money up out of thin air, is that what you're saying? Please elaborate. I honestly don't get it.

                    Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility. uid 52583 lol

                    by terrypinder on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 07:39:29 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Money is a social convention, right? It's always (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Kevskos

                      out of thin air.

                      As Aristotle noted, money is nothing but a system of laws.

                      In the US, the fed gov creates dollars out of thin air when it pushes a computer key to mark up bank accounts in the private sector.

                      That's how dollars come into existence.

                      Dollars are a unit of account, like inches are a unit of measure.

                      Inches are an abstraction, so are dollars for the fed gov.

                      The fed gov   ISSUES  our national currency, out of thin air.

                      Everyone else, including individual states, are currency   USERS, so must earn dollars and balance a check book.

                      The fed gov, on the other hand, merely creates dollars out of thin air.  It doesn't need to earn dollars, either through taxing or borrowing.

                      It creates the stuff.

                      It can't balance a check book cuz it doesn't have one.  It has a money making machine, and balances the 3 financial sectors:  Public, Domestic Private and Foreign Trade.

                      It does so by issuing dollars when it deficit spends them into the private sector  --  either by hiring public workers, making grants to banks and corporations, etc....

                      Dollars  --  money out of thin air.  Just as all money is out of thin air, cuz we make it up out of our imagination.

                      •  what?! (0+ / 0-)

                        so............the constitutionally required budget process for so called "imaginary money" is?

                        Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility. uid 52583 lol

                        by terrypinder on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 07:51:22 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  The Constitution designates the Congress as the (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          terrypinder, Kevskos

                          sole issuer of our currency, with the obligation to regulate it's value.

                          So:

                          1)  All dollars originate with the fed gov.

                          2)  We have a fiat currency, since 1932 for national settlement, and since 1972 for international settlement.

                          3)  As noted by the head of the Fed in 1934, taxes are obsolete for funding the fed gov for national purposes.

                          4)  You still have to regulate it's value:  Regulate deflation/inflation.  

                          Spending regulates deflation, taxes regulate inflation (by removing dollars from circulation).

                    •  Hi Terry, here's a short article on how banks (0+ / 0-)

                      create the vast majority of our money supply, which you might find interesting:

                      http://www.businessinsider.com/...

                  •  katiec - you have made your point many times (0+ / 0-)

                    Most economists, members of Congress, and the readers of this site, don't agree with your monetary policy and analysis. You are certainly free to make it well known here, but when you write it numerous times in a single diary it is getting old.

                    "let's talk about that"

                    by VClib on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 10:06:17 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Well, it's not my theory, it's the Bank of England (0+ / 0-)

                      theory, among others.

                      Here's an article to a link to the Bank of England site which has decided to inform people how a fiat monetary system works.

                      What's old is seeing well educated people not understand our monetary system.

                      So, sorry if most of America hasn't gotten the news that we went off the gold standard in the 30's.

                      But we, as an educated crowd, might want to catch up.

                      So, while I might make my point numerous times.

                      You keep making your point:  How taxes fund our fed gov, which is, I"m sorry to say, incorrect.

                      And all you have to do is think logically:

                      Since the fed gov issues a fiat currency, how it that taxes are necessary to fund it's expenses?????

                      If you had a money making machine, would you need to tax in order to spend????

                    •  In short: Question: Do we or don't we (0+ / 0-)

                      have a fiat currency?

                      You really disagree with this fact?

                      Doubt it.

                      You just haven't thought through it's logic.

                      And neither has most of congress.

                      Here's a clip of Greenspan discussing our fiat reality:

                      https://www.youtube.com/...

                    •  oops, forgot the link, here it is: (0+ / 0-)

                      http://www.businessinsider.com/...

                      Really, progressives need to get with the times.

                      There's no more excuses since the Bank of England is letting the cat run free.

                      Really, you should press the link, and read.

        •  Why not build public transportation! (11+ / 0-)

          Once again the 300 million people have to shoulder what they can't afford! We have working people having to commute to a job that underpays them to pocket the extra earnings, and now we want them to pay sales tax and for a public road. I just don't see how any of this will work any more.

          Every time we propose fast rail or public commute system it gets shot down because the GOP wants us to line the Koch's pocket.

          •  Very true. Buses and rails, bikelanes and sidewalk (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Kevskos

            are for Hippies!

            "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

            by GreenMother on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 08:36:10 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •   please see detailed info on Transp. Bill below (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              GreenMother, Kevskos

              Links, and summary info., yes including transit, bikes, and pedestrians.  If inly the House will cooperate... oh, wait.

              I'm part of the "bedwetting bunch of website Democrat base people (DKos)." - Rush Limbaugh, 10/16/2012 Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

              by tom 47 on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 08:57:28 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Sec. 2103 Multimodal Accomodation (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                GreenMother
                SEC. 2103. MULTIMODAL ACCOMMODATIONS.
                This section would establish a requirement to consider all foreseeable modes of travel in highway designs, including the needs of those using the transportation system via foot, bicycle, and/or public transportation. The section would also modify the Transportation Alternatives program to enable programs of bicycle and pedestrian projects to be considered jointly for the purposes of the 80 percent Federal share requirements, in order to facilitate implementation of these small-scale projects. It also would restore eligibility to nonprofit organizations, which have often administered Safe Routes to Schools programs.
                Often state DOTs have not been required to consider anything but motor vehicles in their designs.  This makes it mandatory.  And Safe Routes to School, too. How about that?

                I'm part of the "bedwetting bunch of website Democrat base people (DKos)." - Rush Limbaugh, 10/16/2012 Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

                by tom 47 on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 10:16:20 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Looks like a good start to me. Now how about (0+ / 0-)

                  some innovative urban planning and some green spaces too.

                  "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

                  by GreenMother on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 01:01:31 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  They'll find the money (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        katiec, happymisanthropy, Kevskos

        when President JEB wants to invade and conquer Iran.  And NPR won't even bother to ask about funding it.

        "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

        by Subterranean on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 08:05:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  It's all about privatization! What makes it even (9+ / 0-)

      worse is that in my state they are aiming for a two income system!  They not only want to hand the roads over to private industry, they want to set aside fast lanes for those willing to cough up the big bucks.  

      They are doing it with state roads and they want to do it with the interstate-widen the interstate with toll lanes to wisk the rich to their destinations because they can pay inflated prices, leaving the rest of us to plug along in the slow lanes or not travel at all.

      It costs $16.00 to round trip it to the airport, with no surface roads available to avoid the toll.  The only other road that takes you out there winds all over the place and can only be accessed from downtown.

      •  That's a horror story that I don't care to see. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        importer, Betty Pinson

        I'm sorry for you and the greed of the wealthy that you have to endure.

        The most un-convincable man is the one whose paycheck depends on remaining unconvinced. -- H. L. Mencken

        by kharma on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 07:55:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  They could turn oversight of the highway system... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        importer, dewtx, milkbone, NoMoreLies

        over to the FCC.  We could have a basic, sluggish service available for a flat rate to everyone equally.  Then we could have fast lanes for those who want to get themselves or their product to the destination quicker.

        They could even have the fast lane prices vary based on overall traffic.  At times when traffic is light the fast lanes could be cheap.  When basic traffic is backed up the fast lane pricing could rise accordingly.  That way they can maximize revenue for the fast lanes without risking those becoming clogged as well.

        I'll bet Verizon and Comcast could set it all up...

        •  It's all too true. Then, you can take that to the (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kevskos, dewtx

          natural conclusion that at some point only those driving the latest model cars and limosines will be able to access fast lanes, retail stores and grocery stores could also be segregated to meet the needs of big spenders rather than average people.  Special lines at the Deli for the high rollers, the rest - take a number.  It is already entrenched in retail.  Most people frequent stores they can afford, so we have Nieman Marcus and Whole Foods on one end and Walmart on the other.

          We already have massive inequity in the system, even though we don't want to acknowledge it, it will become systemic in time.  

        •  So combine Internet Neutrality and Interstate (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          importer

          Highway Neutrality into a new Universal Transport Neutrality. The old slow lanes of everything for the hoi polloi, and the new high-speed lanes of everything for those willing to pay extra (even a lot extra) for them. What could possibly go wrong?

          I am proud to be able to say that I got the chance to vote for Ann Richards for Governor of Texas, twice!

          by dewtx on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 09:11:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  We already pay for maintenance via gas taxes (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      smiley7, katiec, kharma

      So now we need to pay twice?

      This has to be the dumbest idea the Obama administration has produced.

      Its not only dishonest and unfair, it will be extremely unpopular with working class voters.

      Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

      by Betty Pinson on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 08:35:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  What do they do elsewhere? (0+ / 0-)

      Toll roads are fairly common in the world.

      There are a lot of potential options with electronic toll collection (any new system will have at-speed electronic collection).  Germany doesn't charge tolls for passenger cars but does for trucks.  France and Italy charge you out the wazoo for tolls (although the Autostrada are an experience that can happen only in Italy).

  •  It's a tax. (16+ / 0-)

    It's not the best tax as it is somewhat regressive. But it is not as regressive as, say, sales taxes or lottery taxes (which target the poorest). I'd call it a good thing on balance, though not ideal. One nice positive is that it discourages driving.

  •  Highways are a public good (33+ / 0-)

    that benefits everyone.

    We might as well pay local warlords for the right to pass through their fiefdom.

    Dick Cheney 2/14/10: "I was a big supporter of waterboarding"

    by Bob Love on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 05:11:37 AM PDT

  •  Lies about the tolls (16+ / 0-)

    The other thing would be whether the highway authorities lied about how long the tolls will be up.  Most roads that get tolls come with the disclaimer that they will only be up until repairs are completed / the road is paid for, then they will be taken down.  But can anyone name one instance in US history where a toll was actually removed, once put up?

    "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it... unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense." -The Buddha

    by Brian A on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 05:12:23 AM PDT

    •  Yes I can. (10+ / 0-)

      US rt 15 in CT has lost all it's tolls. 1-95 north from NY has lost all it's tolls after Larchmont and even here the toll is only one way as opposed to two way as it used to be.

      Frankly, I’m getting more than a little tired of hearing from angry America. I’m also less than fond of knee-jerk America. And when you combine the two with the Internet, you too often get stupid America, which is really annoying.

      by jsfox on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 05:19:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well, the FT. Worth/Dallas turnpike. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brian A, LieparDestin

      But you're right. That was a long time ago.

      You can't make this stuff up.

      by David54 on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 05:20:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Im in Dallas (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        unfangus, Betty Pinson

        and I never drove the turnpike, but at times I am forced to take George Bush, and that can sure as hell add up fast.

        If you stand for nothing you will fall for anything.

        by LieparDestin on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 05:23:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think the turnpike was a quarter. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LieparDestin, cville townie

          I could be wrong, but George Bush has his name on a classic piece of Rick Perry's crony capitalism.

          You can't make this stuff up.

          by David54 on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 06:00:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  DFW Tpke. and GBT have different financial (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LieparDestin, cville townie

          arrangements. The first was explicit for tolls to be removed when bonds were paid in order for the DFWT to be made part of the Interstate system (I30), while the tolls on GBT are essentially perpetual, covering financing of both existing highway maintenance and ongoing NTTA toll system expansion (new highways, such as I635 HOT lanes, Ft. Worth Southwest Parkway, etc.).

          Here is a link to a recent American Planning Association DC "Tuesdays at APA" talk by Joshua Schank of the Eno Center for Transportation (link has .pdf of slides and audio file) on funding our transportation needs. About 1 hour, but informative.  This was given April 8.

          Description:
           http://www.planning.org/...

          The federal transportation program, which provides 40 percent of capital funding for highways and mass transit in the U.S., lacks direction, purpose, and financial stability. Since 2008 it has limped along without any clear direction or purpose, while at the same time starving for cash. The net effect is that as a nation we tend to make poor investment decisions in transportation relative to potential national goals such as economic growth, environmental improvements, mobility, or safety. We are underinvesting in operational improvements, system preservation, metropolitan regions and freight, and spending too much on capital, new facilities, new areas for development, and perceived local needs.

          How can we hope to change this? Even a non-existent policy, like the one we have now, represents a policy direction. We must seize that direction, codify it, and make it into something worthwhile and effective.

          Presentation: http://www.planning.org/...
           

          I'm part of the "bedwetting bunch of website Democrat base people (DKos)." - Rush Limbaugh, 10/16/2012 Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

          by tom 47 on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 07:43:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Ugghhh! There's toll road called (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LieparDestin, Kevskos

          "George Bush" in Texas?  How fitting.  And I'd bet the majority of those who drive on it don't get the insult to Bush.  Probably not the assholes who built it, either.

          "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

          by Subterranean on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 08:09:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yep (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Subterranean

            its a necessity if you want to avoid the horrible traffic that I-35 or I635, can provide at most any given time. Plus, it helps the richer folk have to avoid the more unpleasant sights of the town (poor neighborhoods).

            Seriously, I35 in Dallas is a joke for such vital interstate to the country. A wreck on a bridge 20 miles north of downtown can snarl traffic halfway to Waco. 2-3  super narrow, windy, bouncy lanes for most any traffic coming/going to Austin/Houston/Mexico/Oklahoma not to mention the daily commute of god knows how many people? Way to go Republicans.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/...

            The President George Bush Turnpike (PGBT) is a 52-mile (84 km)[4] toll road running through the northern, northeastern and western suburbs, forming a partial loop around Dallas, Texas, United States. It is named for George H. W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States. At its west end near Belt Line Road in Irving, State Highway 161 (SH 161) continues southwest to Interstate 20 in Grand Prairie.

            If you stand for nothing you will fall for anything.

            by LieparDestin on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 08:28:56 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  "Ugghhh! There's an airport called (0+ / 0-)

            "Ronald Reagan" in DC. How fitting."

            FWIW, the NTTA also has one named after Sam Rayburn former Speaker of the House from Texas.  And I H 635 in Dallas is the LBJ Freeway.  Whaddya know, states and localities name highways and bridges and stuff after current and past politicians.  Whoda thunk it?

            I'm part of the "bedwetting bunch of website Democrat base people (DKos)." - Rush Limbaugh, 10/16/2012 Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

            by tom 47 on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 09:03:30 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  We in New Orleans just removed tolls (4+ / 0-)

      from the Mississippi River Bridge that goes into downtown New Orleans.

    •  Yes - state parkways in Kentucky. (8+ / 0-)

      The Cumberland Parkway went into service during my childhood; the last tolls were removed roughly 20 years later.

      The difference was that those tolls were to recoup the initial construction cost, NOT to pay for ongoing maintenance. I don't see how a maintenance toll could ever end.

      The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

      by wesmorgan1 on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 06:06:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Usually, (6+ / 0-)

        tolls are 'sold'  to recoup the initial construction cost, but they never go away.

        I think this proposal is just another way to 'take away the commons' and privatise everything for profit.  And the beat goes on.....

        Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

        by DRo on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 06:41:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  When the inter-states were built there was a (6+ / 0-)

          provision for having a certain number of one-mile straightaways that would allow for plane landings in the event of national emergencies.  Having private companies toll the roads could in itself compromise national safety, especially since so much US real estate is now owned by foreign entities.   We're becoming a one-time nation that is slowly parting itself out like a junk car.

          Building a better America with activism, cooperation, ingenuity and snacks.

          by judyms9 on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 06:51:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's an urban legend. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            terrypinder
            When the inter-states were built there was a provision for having a certain number of one-mile straightaways that would allow for plane landings in the event of national emergencies.
            Per the Federal Highway Administration's historian, the "straightaways for plane landings" thing is a myth. There isn't any such requirement.

            "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

            by JamesGG on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 08:13:54 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Well... (0+ / 0-)

            I really don't see Spain invading us just to keep control of some one mile landing strips that are contracted by Cintra.

          •  Um....no (0+ / 0-)

            The Interstate highway system WAS supposed to facilitate logistics for the military, thus "Interstate and Defense Highway System."  I-95 in Maryland actually had a sign to this effect way back when.

            It was basically so much political noise.  The Interstate highway system standards call for something like 14' clearance at overpasses, a bit low for a lot of military hardware.  In fact, in a lot of states, the bridges were built when truck weight limits were a lot more strict.  And the usual standard is for something like 3" of paving, which is why they all started breaking apart after 20 years.  Tanks are much nastier than trucks on road surfaces.  (The NJ turnpike, joke about it as you will, has something like 18" of paving, and its road surface survived 40 years of truck traffic until it needed repaving.)

            Lady Bird Johnson did get the Highway Beautification Act into force before most of the system was built, so there are many stretches of Interstate without road signs.  And parts of the system really are built for speed.  (See I-88 in NY or I-91, the "New England Autobahn", in Vermont)

          •  1 in 3 miles to be flat and straight. (0+ / 0-)
        •  Boy, 'usually' is a dangerous word. (0+ / 0-)

          Try not to make assumptions about all 50 states. If memory serves, around 20 states have never had toll roads at all. So, right off the bat, we're only talking about half the country.

          In my state (Kentucky), state law requires tolls to end when construction costs have been recouped.

          The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

          by wesmorgan1 on Thu May 01, 2014 at 07:26:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  The Saw Mill River Parkway (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wee Mama, Brian A, Simplify

      I’ve said before, I will always work with anyone who is willing to make this law work even better. But the debate over repealing this law is over. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay. -- President Barack Obama

      by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 06:07:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Georgia SR 400 in Atlanta tore down the (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Simplify, Cassandra Waites, Iberian

      toll booths. HOWEVER, we now have HOT toll lanes in high traffic areas that have replaced the HOV lanes there. You can drive a Chevy Suburban with one driver and zero passengers down those lanes legally if you pay the toll. Once again those with money win out over those who have little.

      I was speculating to myself recently that the next move would be toll booths on the interstates. I hate it when I'm right.

      "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

      by Lily O Lady on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 06:35:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The bridge across the Columbia River at The Dalles (0+ / 0-)

      carried a toll until its construction debt was retired.  I was a kid when the toll booth came down, and it has remained a free crossing since.

      The Hood River bridge, just 20 miles down river, however, is older and yet still has a toll booth.

      I haven't researched it, but my anecdotal experience is that our free bridge is the exception, not the rule, and that your point is valid.

      •  The two toll bridges (0+ / 0-)

        in the Columbia Gorge are run by the Port of Hood River and the Port of Cascade Locks.  Neither one has a natural tax base to support maintenance costs, so running them as toll bridges indefinitely makes sense.

        The Dalles Bridge is part of US highway 197 and presumably is maintained by the Oregon DOT.

        What do the Defend-NSAers-at-any-cost hope for society to gain from Snowden turning himself in and standing trial? I suspect it'll be a cold day in hell before any of them finally give a reasonable, coherent answer to that question.

        by happymisanthropy on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 09:49:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  If the roads are privatized (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      katiec, Kevskos, happymisanthropy

      then the tolls will be in place to generate profits.  

      Basically, the government is forcing citizens to buy another corporate product.  Obamacare opened the floodgates and it's only going to get worse.  

      "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

      by Subterranean on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 08:12:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike (0+ / 0-)

      on I-95 in Virginia was made free some years back.

      Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

      by milkbone on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 09:06:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We Watched The Construction Of The Toll Road in 58 (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        milkbone

        Our home sat on a hillside overlooking open farm land, & I remember seeing the first earthmover plow through the soil, from the far left to the right of our view, as it worked its way towards the Appomattox River. Holidays were a "don't take the toll road" event, as we watched the massive backup of northbound traffic, waiting to pay $0.25 (more than the cost of a gallon of gas back then) for the privilege of driving 10 miles to the next major toll plaza.

        My understanding is that the toll road was the first leg completed of I-95 and that happened because Richmond and Petersburg refused to allow I-95 to bypass them to the east (along the route of the present day I-295). So the Feds refused to fund that section of I-95, and Richmond and Petersburg magically "found" the money to construct the road themselves. The residents of Chesterfield County and Colonial Heights, however, were then quartered, nickeled, and dimed to death, losing at least three legal attempts to have the courts declare the toll road merely a money making scheme by Richmond and Petersburg (who didn't have much need to use the toll road themselves) to force workers commuting to/from those cities to bear the brunt of the costs. It wasn't until 30 years later that the tolls were finally taken off.

        In my experience, there is absolutely no difference between a toll road and a Ponzi scheme (and I include the NoVA "Hot" lanes in that assessment).

        We’ve had 30 years of data: supply-side economics don’t work, tax cuts for the wealthy are more likely to encourage the purchase of dressage horses than the creation of new jobs. -- Joe Klein @ Time.com

        by Robert de Loxley on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 08:18:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Mass Pike , exit 1 to 6 (0+ / 0-)

      we stopped having to fund the Big Dig in Boston that we never use pay passenger car tolls for this farthest west stretch of the Mass Turnpike from 1996 through 2013, when the tolls were re-instated.  

      "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of these United States of America -9.75 -6.87

      by Uncle Moji on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 09:19:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yes it is a good solution (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock

    Those that use it pay to upgrade and maintain it.

    Frankly, I’m getting more than a little tired of hearing from angry America. I’m also less than fond of knee-jerk America. And when you combine the two with the Internet, you too often get stupid America, which is really annoying.

    by jsfox on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 05:17:19 AM PDT

    •  Everyone Uses It. If You Eat, or Drink Water, (14+ / 0-)

      you use the highway system one way or another.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 06:23:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And the customers pay the company's toll expenses (0+ / 0-)

        So what's the problem? States are never going to raise income taxes to pay for roads (the ideal), it will be sales tax or tolls. Sales tax just punishes those who are too poor to even own a car. The daily commuters can pay up.

        (-2.38, -3.28) Independent thinker

        by TrueBlueDem on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 07:09:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  When it comes to the interstate highway system, (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          quill, Betty Pinson, Kevskos

          the fed gov should foot the bill, in total.

          As it's the only entity that issues our national currency out of thin air, and so doesn't need to earn dollars.  It creates the stuff out of thin air.

          Simple.

          Really.  This isn't rocket science.

          And is how the interstate system was paid for in the first place.

          •  The money must be budgeted by Congress (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            terrypinder

            before it can be printed out of thin air. You seem to be forgetting that part.

            (-2.38, -3.28) Independent thinker

            by TrueBlueDem on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 07:41:54 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Nope, not forgetting. We should be demanding (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Kevskos

              that Congress does it's job.

              Not falling for privatization schemes.

              •  That doesn't work with Republicans in power (0+ / 0-)

                You know, President Obama has only demanded infrastructure funding about 746 times from Congress. I don't know why you think any of the next 746 attempts would be successful.

                (-2.38, -3.28) Independent thinker

                by TrueBlueDem on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 08:04:25 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  That doesn't work with anyone in power... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  terrypinder

                  because like it or not, printing money out of "thin air" eventually becomes an irresistible and uncontrollable habit. I worry a bit that we might be creating a problem right now because the Fed seems destined for QEXXVI.

                  •  Fed issued Reserves are not cash. Only Treasury (0+ / 0-)

                    can spend cash into existence, when Congress tells it to.

                    Reserves, on the other hand, are inter bank payment clearing tools, and never circulate outside of the banking sector.

                    I'm not for QE, but fed issued reserves are not cash.

                    That's why we haven't had massive inflation due to QE.

                    What QE does seem to be doing is pushing investors into more risk, cuz they don't have T Bonds to invest in.

                    Thus stock prices and other things are being pushed up.

                    But....  reserves are not cash, banks to lend them out to the public, they don't circulate outside of banks.

                    •  We have had massive inflation... (0+ / 0-)

                      due to QE. Like you said - look at the stock market. If things start to go south, all that money will come out of the stock market and will go right into real goods so that the holders of those monies will be able to make more money on the inflation upswing. Swings in the commodities markets regularly track inflation fears (although it is a bit complicated because other factors are involved as well).

                      •  But the confusion of fed issued reserves w/cash (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Betty Pinson

                        would predict much larger amounts of inflation than we've seen.

                        Put another way:  Reserves aren't cash, and doesn't increase the money supply.

                        QE is merely shifting all ready existing money around:  From Bonds to other stuff.

                      •  The banks can hold either reserves or T Bonds. (0+ / 0-)

                        The fed reserve can only impact the composition of bank holdings:

                        The fewer T Bonds, the more reserves banks hold.

                        T Bonds drain reserves.

                        Fed issued reserves are not causing inflation.

                        The lack of T Bonds seem to be.

                  •  All money is out of thin air. Money is merely (0+ / 0-)

                    a social convention.

                    Money is a measuring tool, like inches.

                    It's an abstraction.

                    It's out of thin air.

                    Always, everywhere, at all times.

                    Even gold has a face value stamped on it  --  out of thin air.

          •  But the interstate system has subsequently (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            happymisanthropy, Betty Pinson

            been abused by local and state governments to line the pockets of the real estate development industry.

            "Interstates" now have exits every mile, each with a million square feet of crappy strip retail, 10,000 apartment units, and 5,000 automobile-dependent living pods in high-density commuter housing subdivisions. The "interstates" now create sprawl, increase congestion, and eliminate opportunities for legitimate public-transit systems.

            It has been one of the worst bastardizations of a transportation concept in human history.

            "Bernie Madoff's mistake was stealing from the rich. If he'd stolen from the poor he'd have a cabinet position." -OPOL

            by blue in NC on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 07:57:49 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  If Libertarians Oppose, They're More Obviously (7+ / 0-)

    a moronic front group than even I thought.

    Once you allow local toll, you've decoupled a crucial element of the commons from society and put it onto the backs of its direct immediate users entirely.

    From there it's only a trivial step to privatization, the libertarians' wet dream come true.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 05:19:37 AM PDT

  •  Conservatives will scream about this privatization (4+ / 0-)

    and ask for their socialist interstate system back

  •  Terrible solution, hinders economic development (12+ / 0-)

    along route. Interstate toll roads in Ohio for example. Hard to get on/off. People don't stop at side towns for gas-restaurants-shopping because of access issues. Toll co. will likely sell rights for miserable gas/food stops on toll road.

    •  I can only imagine (4+ / 0-)

      how much the grand total of toll fees would be trying to drive cross-country. If you was just to figure you'd pay an extra 10 dollars per state in toll fees to get from Florida to California... theres no reason to not fly. We all know getting across texas would cost more than 10 bucks.

      If you stand for nothing you will fall for anything.

      by LieparDestin on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 05:51:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Maybe it should cost that extra $10. (8+ / 0-)

        Keeping up the roads isn't free. Potholes and cracks form in freeze/thaw cycles, bridges degrade, rains wash away berms, etc.

        So the choice is either to let the roads and bridges crumble, or someone has to pay for the upkeep. If we choose option (b), it's going to either come out of tolls, an increase in the gas tax, an increase in the vehicle registration charge, or money collected from all of the state or federal taxpayers.

        Increased registration fees hit only in-state drivers and so they're subsidizing those who drive across the state with vehicles registered elsewhere; state and federal tax money penalizes those who choose not to drive in order to subsidize the choices of those who do. So I think tolls or increased gas taxes are the way to do it, so that the people who use the roads to drive across the country are the ones paying for it.  There are benefits and drawbacks to both.

        But while we're in an "eliminating externalities" mood, let's go whole hog and increase gas taxes enough to pay for the mitigation of climate change caused by all those people taking their individual internal combustion engines driving across the country instead of demanding an expansion of high-speed rail lines, which are much more efficient, and to pay for the destruction of wilderness and farmland to make way for more auto-centric suburban development instead of transit-oriented urban development.

        I think it's long past time that driving in the USA become much more expensive in order to pay for all of the external costs of automobile culture, despite that proposition being so impolitic that no legislator outside the northeast would actually support it.

        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

        by JamesGG on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 06:35:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I live in NC (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JamesGG

          in the Raleigh Area.  I-540 which is supposed to circle the triangle when it is complete is tolled on part of it.. of course the part I drive on.. because the state didn't/wouldn't put up the $$ to build it.  A large majority of I-540 is still without a toll because it was built first.  There is still a fight about the last part of the loop because a few of the routes cut the town of Garner in half OR it goes thru a protected wetlands.  The toll road is set up with electronic tolls that either dings your account or sends you a bill to your license plate address.

          I pay the toll - bought the $20 box for my car so I can speed thru the EZPAY lanes in WV when I drive to Ohio.

          I am for tolling 1-95 - for various reasons 1. Locals rarely use I-95 to get around the Eastern NC area - 2. Most of the people using I-95 are driving THRU our state on their way to Florida or the Northeast.  It is in great need of repair and widening.  If you look at the accident records, the stretch from Dunn to Rocky Mount is some of the worst in the country.  My brother is a long distance trucker who refuses to take any jobs requiring him to drive that road.  I hate it from NC until the GA border where it goes from 4 lanes to 6.  Horrid road.

          If we were to transfer all the damn money we give to the Pentagon to the Highway System - then the need for tolls would not exist, but since our GOP congress is so ignorant of this.. Toll it and blame it on the GOP.

          Why do Republicans Hate Americans?

          by Caniac41 on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 07:13:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I will add (0+ / 0-)

            to make it easy on the locals - toll booth at the VA border and at the SC border - get you coming and going - that way you get off at any of the local establishments for gas/food/hotels..

            Why do Republicans Hate Americans?

            by Caniac41 on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 07:20:02 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I don't want the cost to be invisible. (3+ / 0-)
            If we were to transfer all the damn money we give to the Pentagon to the Highway System - then the need for tolls would not exist, but since our GOP congress is so ignorant of this.. Toll it and blame it on the GOP.
            I'd rather not do that. I don't want the costs of our highway system to be invisible or tucked away as some budget line-item somewhere. I want them to be quite visible, so that every person who drives on a highway knows exactly what it's costing in terms of wear and tear to the infrastructure, in terms of general maintenance costs for the road system, in terms of damage to the climate.

            That way, we might hear a little less "why can't it just function like a private business?" complaining when our rail infrastructure needs public investment to keep going—if people have to face up to the costs of an automobile-centric society, they might just start talking a bit more about transit.

            "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

            by JamesGG on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 07:44:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Oh I am all (0+ / 0-)

              for putting in a budget - and not HIDING the costs ANYWHERE - I say STEAL THE FUNDS from the Pentagon and reallocate them to the Federal Highway System.

              I hate that we had to 'privatize' the building of I-540 to get it done - but when the NCDOT is being run by a bunch of idiots - you do what you have to do ..

              I really wish we would upgrade our Rail System - but until we can get rid of the 'Agenda 21' conspiracy theory nuts out of government jobs - it isn't going to happen.

              Why do Republicans Hate Americans?

              by Caniac41 on Thu May 01, 2014 at 10:49:40 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Let me guess - you don't live out West, do you? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kevskos

          Your proposition would turn the western states back into open prairie.

        •  That's a good argument for tolls, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          katiec, happymisanthropy

          I don't care for the regressive nature of tolls, but agree it would be a way to dissuade fossile fuel usage.  

          But as I understand it, this proposal under discussion is about privatizing roads.  The tolls would partially go towards the roads, with the remainder being skimmed for profit.  It's another example of the government mandating the purchase of a private product, since many people MUST drive certain routes to work or school.  

          "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

          by Subterranean on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 08:18:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Imagine rush hour traffic (0+ / 0-)

      Its bad enough in most metro areas without adding toll booths.  What are these fools thinking?

      Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

      by Betty Pinson on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 08:47:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Plenty of reasons not to fly. (6+ / 0-)

    Starting with the "choice" of being groped or irradiated in the name of security theater.

    At this point I do everything I can to avoid flying.  I wish out train system didn't suck so much.  The idea of going several times the speed of driving without having to drive and without the security BS of air travel (like I was able to do in Europe and still can do in Europe) is very appealing.

    Much of America is too big to make Euro-style trains very economic but the higher density areas (like most o the East Coast) could support much better trains than they have now.

    •  I think the US missed the boat. (6+ / 0-)

      Regional trains could be workable even outside the East Coast.  The Great Lakes region is an example.

      A couple of weeks ago I traveled by AVE train in Spain.  The AVE hit 295 km/hr at spots and for the distance, cheaper than driving.

      America has lost the initiative, lost fundamental abilities in manufacturing, and will become more and more and more irrelevant when we are wedded to a buggy-whip technology for getting around.

    •  Hmmmm.... (0+ / 0-)

      so your tradeoff is that you avoid the debatable danger of being "irradiated" and accept the absolutely known danger of driving  in making  your decision?

      •  Well also airports are a giant PITA (0+ / 0-)

        They're uncomfortable, they're hard on my disabled wife, they have 100% useless food options for my celiac, corn-allergic wife, the ability to bring food into the airport is deeply limited by the stupid security theatre and...you spend more time in the stupid places than on the aircraft.

        Also aircraft aren't exactly comfortable to my 6'3" 230 pound frame.

        So yeah.  I'd rather drive, especially if I have others in the car to share the driving duties.     If we're driving into a food desert, we can bring a cooler.  If my wife is in too much pain to continue, we can pull over and recline the seats.  Etc.

        A comfortable train seat would be superior to driving, especially if we sprung for a sleeping berth.  Food would be a little more challenging than driving but is still easier than an airport.

        •  Ok, these are all points I absolutely agree with! (0+ / 0-)

          I have to fly a lot and I really don't enjoy it much at all these days. My wife and I LOVE taking trains and do so whenever we can. Falling asleep on an overnight train with that clickety-clack and gentle rocking is the best thing in the world!

          I have a cute story...

          When our children were little, we took the train all the time - even when I had speaking engagements around the country. We went pretty much cross country when they were only 1 1/2. They just loved the trains! So much so, that when they got to be 5, we realized that they had never yet flown anywhere. So, on their first trip to Disney, we decided to fly instead of train it. The kids were fine for the trip, but didn't really express the excitement and joy we had anticipated. When we finally inquired about their reserved demeanor, we were a bit surprised at the answer. The kids told us that flying was ok, but could we please take the train again the next time. All their friends were always talking about their flying trips, but apparently they were the only kids that ever got to talk about train trips. Apparently this was a VERY big deal at show-and-tell...lol!!!

  •  I don't like tolls much at all (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Caniac41, ColoTim, The Dead Man

    but at least this would provide desperately needed infrastructure funding and the jobs that go with it.

    NC needs billions to upgrade I-95 in eastern NC, most of which was built in the 1960s and has not been improved since.

    Our Teabagger legislature will never go for the obvious funding solution - raising the gas tax - but maybe they would go along with a toll.

    Election Day is Nov 4th, 2014 It's time for the Undo button on the 2010 Election.

    by bear83 on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 06:01:42 AM PDT

  •  Privatization of roads and tolls (18+ / 0-)

    will only lead to a dystopian transportation system where the have nots will be forced to travel on the crumbling and congested local roads because they cannot afford the tolls while the have mores will get to travel on the shiny newer roads provided they pay the toll.

    This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

    by DisNoir36 on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 06:06:00 AM PDT

  •  a natural extension of the net neutrality (18+ / 0-)

    debate.  It's OK to charge for better access to the internet, and now it will be OK to charge for better access to the highways.  This will move at least some traffic off the interstates onto state highways or secondary roads.

    In general, I can support usage fees.  But some things, like the interstates, serve us all whether or not we actually drive on them.  The support interstate commerce and almost all the economic activities of everyday life.  We all use them, we all need them, we all benefit from them and we should all pay for them.  To me, that means taxes, not tolls.  

    We all know tax rates are at near historic lows, especially for corporations and the wealthy.  That's the problem - with roads and with so much more that needs to be done and isn't.

    •  That's not incompatible with tolls. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LieparDestin, judyms9, Simplify, DuzT
      The support interstate commerce and almost all the economic activities of everyday life.  We all use them, we all need them, we all benefit from them and we should all pay for them.
      To the extent that the interstate system is used for commerce, any toll-based increase in transportation costs for business will be passed along to the consumer in the form of higher prices for goods and services.

      In fact, tolls could improve the local-based economy and mitigate climate change, since businesses that do more sourcing locally rather than engaging in climate-damaging auto shipping from other parts of the country won't have to pay as much in tolls, and can pass those savings along to the consumer.

      "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

      by JamesGG on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 06:40:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oh, and there are some big differences... (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LieparDestin, judyms9, DRo, DuzT, ColoTim

      ...between the internet tubes and the interstate commerce system:

      Every bit of information that travels through the internet tubes doesn't cause damage to the tubes, and big chunks of data don't cause more damage than small ones. There's no difference in wear and tear to the infrastructure between sending a bit of information ten miles versus a thousand miles. And there's no significant difference in carbon emissions between sending a bit of information ten miles or a thousand.

      In contrast, each and every car or truck that travels over the interstate does some amount of wear and tear on that interstate, and the heavier the vehicle, the greater the damage. There's a substantial difference in road wear and tear between a truck carrying a load ten miles and carrying that load a thousand miles—to say nothing of the difference in climate-damaging carbon emissions.

      In short, net neutrality makes sense because it doesn't cost the ISP any more money to send a Netflix packet than it does to send a Facebook or Daily Kos packet, and it doesn't cost them any more money to send a packet across the country than it does to send it across the street. Packets is packets is packets. In contrast, long-distance interstate shipping does cost the providers of roads more money based on the length of the journey and the weight of the load—and does cost us all more money in the long run in carbon emissions that change the climate.

      "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

      by JamesGG on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 06:50:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The fed gov is a monetary sovereign of a fiat (5+ / 0-)

        currency with  a floating exchange rate.

        It creates dollars out of thin air so we have a measuring tool to measure economic activity, like inches measure lumber.

        Dollars are no object, literally.  They're an abstraction, like inches.

        The fed gov doesn't earn dollars:  It creates them out of thin air when it makes an accounting entry to record marking up a bank account in the private sector.

        When it comes to our national infrastructure, we need to clearly understand how the fed gov pays for anything:  By making accounting marks to record how many new dollars it issues to the private sector.

        Same with climate action:  We can certainly afford to save  the earth.  

  •  I think this perhaps is the least bad way to do (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LieparDestin, VClib

    infrastructure improvements.  

    There's just no good way to pay for this, and this, at least, would put some of the cost of upgrading a particular highway on the people who use that particular highway.  

  •  Lots of interstates… (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    terrypinder, LieparDestin

    …have been toll roads for years. Try driving I-90 from Albany to Chicago. Practically the only free part of it is in Pennsylvania (which has its own, different toll road interstate). The NY State Thruway, the Ohio Turnpike (minus the section from Oberlin to Pennsylvania), the Indiana Toll Road, and the Skyway in Illinois. While technically not I-90, the TriState around Chicago (I-294) is a toll road, and toll I-90 continues near ORD all the way to Rockford.

    Also in Illinois, I-88 is a toll road from the Tri-State to at least Dekalb, and, if I recall, all the way to Sterling/Rock Falls.

    Here in Florida, I-75 from Naples to near Ft. Lauderdale is a toll road.

    I'm sure there are examples elsewhere—NJ? CT? ME?

    LRod—UID 238035
    ZJX, ORD, ZAU retired
    My ATC site
    My Norm's Tools site

    by exatc on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 06:12:57 AM PDT

    •  yes, 76 was grandfathered in (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      exatc, Subterranean

      as it predates the interstate system.

      There have been (still are) numerous efforts to try to toll the rest of PA's interstates but they died or were repealed.

      Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility. uid 52583 lol

      by terrypinder on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 06:43:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Grandfathering (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        terrypinder

        Probably also applies to NY, OH, IN, and IL in their iterations, although in the case of I-88, that was Illinois SR-5 and a toll road for years before the (probably unecessary) interstate designation. Same with Alligator Alley (the I-75 segment between Naples and Ft. Lauderdale).

        By the way, and completely off the subject of tolls, I-75 in Florida is the most hilariously gerrymandered interstate in the country—from just south of Valdosta, GA, south through (near) Lake City, Gainesville, and Ocala— all perfectly reasonable connectors—down to Wildwood, which just happens to be the northern terminus of the Florida Turnpike, the natural, although tolled, corridor to the Gold Coast of Palm Beach/Ft. Lauderdale/Miami.

        I-75 bails southwest at that point to the reasonably natural—albeit secondary—destination of Tampa, and which was later extended south through the Gulf municipalities of Sarasota/Bradenton, Ft. Myers, and Naples—all toll-free, mind. Then, in a head jerking 90° turn, it heads east for 100 miles, joining the I-595 complex (curiously free, for some reason), at which point it dives south toward Miami, and then east (becoming tolled, yet again) but just sort of peters out somewhere in the urban part of Dade County's maze of toll roads. It's just the one-number ticket for all your Sault St. Marie-Hialeah transportation needs, if you don't mind driving a couple of hundred miles out of your way. If you do, well, there's the Turnpike.

        The history of access to Florida's most populous region as legislated by a state house dominated by North Florida lawmakers during the '50s and '60s is one of "free in the north, pay to play in the south". I lived through it all. The most hilarious aspect of free vs toll is when driving I-95 through Martin and northern Palm Beach County where the interstate and the Turnpike, are literally side by side for miles—merely dozens of meters apart—six free lanes of one, four toll lanes of the other—all with a speed limit of 70. Bride and I always joke, as we motor side by jowl, at speed, "what are those are over there?—stupid people."

        LRod—UID 238035
        ZJX, ORD, ZAU retired
        My ATC site
        My Norm's Tools site

        by exatc on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 07:22:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  also Mass Pike (also I-90) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      exatc

      and Maine Tpk (I-95). I believe both of those were grandfathered, i.e. they predated the official Interstate Highway System.

      And the GW Bridge (I-95) and many other bridges that carry the interstates.

  •  I'm ok with tolling. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LieparDestin

    getting the feds to drop their hostility to tolling is something the states have been trying to do for decades by the way. It was the states that paid the lion's share of constructing the entire interstate system.

    While I haven't been sold on the claims of privitization having run the numbers for one effort that eventually failed, it's worth noting private transport tolling is used extensively in Europe.

    Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility. uid 52583 lol

    by terrypinder on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 06:37:24 AM PDT

    •  A pro/con came to mind as I read comments.. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      terrypinder, Subterranean

      Pro: if states started tolling, citizens who use the highways might be more willing to accept a flat rate transportation tax increase rather than potentially pay more over the long run/to help distribute costs to all citizens.

      Con: Highways could become endless construction zones just to substain the jobs of the middle/upper level managers or the corruption potential involved with Christie type administrations.

      If you stand for nothing you will fall for anything.

      by LieparDestin on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 06:48:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  the states bear the majority of the costs (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LieparDestin

        of maintaining the interstate system and increasingly can't keep up. I think if you polled the 50 DOTs you'd find a great deal of support for tolling of the interstates, if the Feds would allow it. It looks like they may have decided to; in the past they've been very hostile to tolling and there's a lot of paperwork a given state has to do to do toll an interstate.

        Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility. uid 52583 lol

        by terrypinder on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 06:54:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  it won't work like that (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TakeSake, Kevskos

        Here's how it will work: tolling will become a new attractive revenue source for (deliberately, artificially) cash strapped states and municipalities. It doesn't matter if there is some legal requirement that toll money pay for infrastructure, the practical result will be that this will ease the pressure on other sources that are unpopular with more powerful people and business, such as business and property taxes, and so tolls will instantly become "necessary" to everyone everywhere. Once established, the tolls will NEVER go away, and in fact they will incrementally increase.

        Soon, the nation's "free" ways will become expensive and congested by thousands of toll stops and/or privately operated metering schemes with high overhead. Of course, this will be regressive, as poor people have to drive further to get to work, but who cares about them? Also, the transportation industries will take a huge hit, particularly independent trucking and small businesses that deliver goods and services. And yes, this will be passed on to all consumers, another regressive hit. And no, this won't likely help local business and reduce carbon use, since most businesses rely too much on shipped goods and people can't simply quit their job and get another one closer to home. The only ones who will benefit from this will be wealthy people and big corporations that can use logistical tricks and tax breaks to benefit from the changes.

        Classic Disaster Capitalism.

        "Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb

        by quill on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 08:57:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Baloney. The fed gov matched the states (6+ / 0-)

      90/10 to construct the national highway system in the 50s/60s.

      Even those who now wish to privatize get the stats right.

  •  I thought that the privatizers would aim (15+ / 0-)

    at the Interstate Highway System next. The best way to get richer is to put a meter on something that was previously free while ginning up a BS excuse as to why it's because of poor people eating our freedomz.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 06:42:42 AM PDT

  •  toll roads are the worst! (7+ / 0-)

    too poor to travel

    privatization is the worst.

    People need to get back to the commonwealth!

    Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

    by greenbastard on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 06:55:42 AM PDT

  •  Gas Tax Not Adequate With Emerging Alternate Fuels (6+ / 0-)

    Keep in mind that using the gas tax as sole funding mechanism will not work as new non-fossil fuel technologies spread to vehicles.

    So this is a logical alternative.

    With one proviso: It MUST remain in government hands and control. NOT PRIVATIZED. That way lays corruption, higher costs to citizens in order to inflate the profits of the shareholders. That is NOT what delivery of basic core services should be about.

    These is enough massive evidence now of the failure of privatization schemes that this should be a no brainer.

    But yes, absolutely, charge reasonable tolls and fund reconstruction.

    Just don't call it a tax, or you will upset the wingnuts.

    "You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you are going, because you might not get there." “When you come to the fork in the road, take it.” --Yogi Berra

    by HeartlandLiberal on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 06:55:58 AM PDT

    •  This: (0+ / 0-)
      With one proviso: It MUST remain in government hands and control. NOT PRIVATIZED.
      Privatized roads may be the next shoe to fall after Obamacare.  Another instance of the government mandating the purchase of a private product that should be a public good.

      "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

      by Subterranean on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 08:26:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  For me the problem with tolls (7+ / 0-)

    (coming from someone who lives in New England where there are already a lot of toll roads)

    is not paying the toll but all of the extra traffic and slowdown caused by the toll booths themselves. Rather frustrating to be paying a toll in exchange for more traffic.

    1. Books are for use.

    by looty on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 06:58:17 AM PDT

    •  Yes, more toll roads are a horrible idea. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greenbastard, unfangus, looty, quill, Kevskos
    •  Luckily the NSA (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      unfangus, TracieLynn

      has pretty much perfected optical-character recognition for license plate reading, etc.

      I don't know how a billing system would be enforced for non-payers, but here in Dallas they have removed booths and it is entirely OCR based. Of course this is not without flaws and I have been billed for another car when the OCR captured a character wrong.

      The PRISM programs already is gathers data from many toll-systems across the country, so of course there are privacy concerns involved.

      http://www.wfaa.com/...

      The Homeland Security Department abruptly reversed course Wednesday and dropped plans to ask a private company to give the government access to a nationwide database of license plate tracking information.

      Secretary Jeh Johnson directed that a contract proposal issued last week be canceled.

      The proposal said Immigration and Customs Enforcement was planning to use the license plate data in pursuit of criminal immigrants and others sought by authorities.

      Gillian Christensen, an ICE spokeswoman, said the contract solicitation was posted "without the awareness of ICE leadership."

      If you stand for nothing you will fall for anything.

      by LieparDestin on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 07:06:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  the one plate-reading system (0+ / 0-)

        i've seen would send the bill to the driver of the car if they didn't have an EZPASS type device. I have my doubts if it's perfected yet, but apparently it will be used in the majority of the existing tolling systems by 2025.

        Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility. uid 52583 lol

        by terrypinder on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 08:08:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The problem is nonpayment/punishment (0+ / 0-)

          If someone from NY doesn't pay a toll in Arizona, how would non-payment be enforced? Currently say here in Dallas, now if you have overdue tolls they and you go to get your registration, you cannot, until you pay up. It seems like it would take a whole lot of coordination to get something enforceable set up that can be used nationwide.

          If you stand for nothing you will fall for anything.

          by LieparDestin on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 08:19:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  that's an interesting question that (0+ / 0-)

            i don't have an answer to.

            Reciprocity agreements between states do exist. say if you're a PA resident who gets caught by MD's construction-zone speeding cameras--they can and do send out bills which they expect to be paid. Other than that, I don't really know. It's a good question though.

            Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility. uid 52583 lol

            by terrypinder on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 08:23:54 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  It works somehow in Florida (0+ / 0-)

            I don't understand the underlying systems, but in South Florida there are many places where toll booths have been replaced by automatic readers.  If the vehicle has a SunPass transponder, the reader uses that. If it doesn't then it reads the license plate and bills the vehicle owner.

            This applies to rental cars and tourists with out of state plates, too.

            Oh .. and when they added pay "express" lanes to I-95 near Miami, they didn't actually add any new pavement, they just narrowed the other lanes.  What could possibly go wrong?  The tolls vary depending on traffic load at the time of use.

        •  That recently went into effect (0+ / 0-)

          on the Golden Gate bridge. They send a bill if you don't have a Fastrak recorder in your car. Or you can pay in advance if you know you'll be crossing it.

  •  Another crap sandwich from this neo-lib (11+ / 0-)

    administration. The "nobody should have to pay taxes for anything" is turning the country into a crumbling ruin. Toll roads are devastating. People will end up paying a hundred dollars a month just to use the highway system to commute.
       This isn't the worst idea to come out of this administration - chained CPI is. But it's close.

    •  In the long run, it is a blow to suburban sprawl (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ColoTim

      So there is some upside here. The mega-commuters are, demographically, a Republican-leaning bunch. No tears for them. And it is better than jacking up sales taxes on the poor, many of whom don't even own a car.

      When people start figuring out that, "gee, living 40 miles from work is not only a pain in the ass, but its freaking expensive too", we'll see more rail, more urbanization, and less traffic for all.

      (-2.38, -3.28) Independent thinker

      by TrueBlueDem on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 07:25:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Color me confused... (2+ / 0-)

    Right now, I pay tolls on a bunch of different interstate highways I drive on fairly frequently: I pay at various bridges between DE and CT when I go to visit my family (DE Memorial on I-295, Tappan Zee on I-287 in NY), I pay at the MD/DE state line when I take I-95 south from DE to visit friends in VA or MD, I pay on I-95/I-895 when I go through Baltimore at the tunnels. I also pay on the PA turnpike (I-76), the Mass Pike (I-90), and the CT turnpike (I-95 along the coast). My understanding has always been that these tolls go to pay for maintenance and reconstruction of the various edifices and roads that they are placed on. Am I incorrect in this assumption? And does this mean that there will soon be potentially a lot more tolls that I have to pay when I travel on the interstate system?

    Carry the battle to them. Don't let them bring it to you. Put them on the defensive and don't ever apologize for anything. -Harry S. Truman / -8.00, -6.77

    by Shadowmage36 on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 07:05:37 AM PDT

  •  I'd support much higher fuel taxes (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    judyms9, LieparDestin, TrueBlueDem

    but all the revenue collected should be returned to the people on an equitable basis, like a dividend or like the Alaska pipeline fees.

    But this is for prevention of the gross overuse of fossil fuels and reduction in global warming, not maintaining the roads and transit infrastructure.

    I think most funding for maintenance of the roads should be paid for out of general revenues, as should be the funding for transit, bike paths, sidewalks etc.

    A small user fee, like a transit fare or modest toll, is fine to help regulate usage in most cases.  I'm fine with many roads being free, and only regulating usage where there are overuse problems.  I'd put higher tolls on roads that are heavily congested to discourage unnecessary traffic, and higher tolls on heavy trucks, since they do most of the road damage.

    Cities should impose tolls, taxes on parking, and user fee cordons to prevent unnecessary suburban traffic from ruining their spaces and neighborhoods.

    It's all about paying for the externalities.  Cars and trucks produce tremendous external costs to others, including pollution, highways ruining neighborhoods, direct death and risk of harm, etc. and so a high degree of taxing and tolling is appropriate.

  •  Will the tolls go to the Gov or to a private Corp, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LieparDestin, TrueBlueDem

    who will provide a lump sum at the beginning in return for tolls for 50 years. In states where the demographics are turning against the Republicans, this could be a way for Republicans to make some of their contributors very rich at the expense of future generations who will have no vote in the matter. In states where it's the Democrats are in charge the same principle applies.

    How it's done matters.

  •  Bad Idea (4+ / 0-)

    Collecting tolls slow down traffic. Idling engines waiting to pay means more pollution. Many state governments are in the hands of crazy people who will abuse this new power. Toll collecting to pay for roads was rejected decades (centuries?) ago as being less efficient than taxation given how it inhibited traffic and was ripe for abuse. This is another stupid attack on government doing what it does better than the private sector--like providing education and delivering the mail.

  •  raise (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LieparDestin, Roadbed Guy, a2nite, jbob

    the effing gas tax.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 07:19:47 AM PDT

  •  Personal experience: (7+ / 0-)

    During a period of financial difficulties, I was living in Maine, where the Interstate, as in much of New England, is dotted with toll booths.  It made getting to job interviews and temp assignments a much more expensive proposition.  When possible, I opted for much longer and slower back-road routes.  Often, this was impractical or even impossible.

    When I was making a decent living, the tolls were not much more than an annoyance (and minor irritation at having to slow down for the booths every so often).  But for someone trying to make a meager income stretch to the next pay period, it sometimes meant going without a meal in order to get to work.

    As with sales and use taxes, tolls inequitably impact the poor.

  •  Unreal (5+ / 0-)

    The most regressive tax imaginable, and individual motorists will undoubtedly bear the brunt of the tax, while the trucking companies that tear up the roads will pay a trifle.  

    Over a trillion dollars to destroy and rebuild Iraq's infrastructure, and now we get toll expressways.  I'm fucking pissed.

    "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

    by Subterranean on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 08:02:02 AM PDT

  •  For information, here are two links to the bill: (3+ / 0-)

    From the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).
       

    April 29, 2014

    Department of Transportation Releases Surface Transportation Bill

    Today, USDOT Secretary Anthony Foxx sent to Congress the Administration’s surface transportation authorization legislative proposal. Expanding upon information gleaned from the President’s Budget Request, the transportation bill known as the GROW AMERICA Act is a four-year, $302 billion bill that authorizes highway, public transportation and passenger rail programs from Fiscal Years (FY) 2015 through 2018. A one-time infusion of $150 billion into the Highway Trust Fund would eliminate the shortfall during the authorization period.

    The legislation follows the President’s Budget Request and provides $72 billion for public transportation, a nearly 70% increase over FY 2014 authorized amounts. The Grow America Act includes increases to address the bus and rail state of good repair backlog. Additionally, the bill would provide $19 billion over the four years for intercity passenger rail, including existing Amtrak service and PTC investments. Below are tables detailing the FTA and FRA funding authorizations included in the proposal.

    The full bill text is available here: GROW AMERICA Act  (Bill Text) 350 pp

    http://images.magnetmail.net/...

    A section-by-section summary is available here: GROW AMERICA Act (Summary) 101 pp

    http://images.magnetmail.net/...

    The DOT has also put together a series of Fact Sheets on the GROW AMERICA Act, available here on DOT’s website. http://www.dot.gov/...

    Here's a summary table of Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)  program funding:

    FTA Programs

    Program
    2014 Actual (Millions)
    2015 Proposed (Millions)
    2016 Proposed (Millions)
    2017 Proposed (Millions)
    2018 Proposed (Millions)
    TRANSIT PROGRAMS
    § 20005(b) Transit Oriented Development Pilot
    10.0
    10.2
    10.5
    10.8
    11.0
    § 5305 Planning
    128.8
    131.8
    135.1
    138.5
    142.0
    § 5307 Urbanized Area Formula
    4,458.7
    4,563.2
    4,676.9
    4,794.2
    4,915.3
    § 5309 Fixed Guideway Capital Investment
    1,907.0
    2,500.0
    2,625.0
    2,756.0
    2,894.0
    § 5310 Elderly and Disabled
    258.3
    264.4
    270.9
    277.7
    284.8
    § 5311 Rural Formula
    607.8
    622.0
    637.5
    653.5
    670.1
    § 5312 Research, Dev., Demo., Deployment
    70.0
    26.0
    27.0
    29.0
    31.0
    § 5313 Transit Cooperative Research Program
    7.0
    7.0
    7.0
    7.0
    7.0
    § 5314 Tech. Assist. and Standards Development
    7.0
    7.0
    7.0
    7.0
    9.0
    § 5318 Bus Testing Facility
    3.0
    3.1
    3.1
    3.2
    3.3
    § 5322 Human Resources and Training
    5.0
    20.0
    20.0
    20.0
    20.0
    § 5322(d) National Transit Institute
    5.0
    5.1
    5.2
    5.4
    5.5
    § 5324 Emergency Relief Program
    ---
    25.0
    25.0
    25.0
    25.0
    § 5334 Administration
    104.0
    114.4
    120.0
    126.0
    132.0
    § 5335 National Transit Database
    3.9
    3.9
    4.0
    4.1
    4.2
    § 5337 State of Good Repair
    2,165.9
    5,719.0
    5,775.0
    5,832.0
    5,890.0
    § 5339 Bus and Bus Facilities Formula
    427.8
    1,939.0
    1,950.0
    1,961.0
    1,972.0
    § 5340 Growing States and High Density States
    525.9
    538.2
    551.6
    565.5
    579.8
    § 5341 Rapid Growth Area Transit Program
    ---
    500.0
    525.0
    550.0
    600.0
    Total Proposed Transit Program Funding
    10,695.0
    16,999.4
    17,376.0
    17,766.0
    18,196.0

    21ST CENTURY INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT PROGRAMS
    § 5601 Tiger Infrastructure Investment Grants
    600.0
    1,250.0
    1,250.0
    1,250.0
    1,250.0
    § 5602 Fixing and Accelerating Surface Transp. Grants
    ---
    1,000.0
    1,000.0
    1,000.0
    1,000.0
    Total Proposed 21st Century Infrastructure Investment
    600.0
    2,250.0
    2,250.0
    2,250.0
    2,250.0

    FRA Programs  

    Program
    2014 Actual (Millions)
    2015 Proposed (Millions)
    2016 Proposed (Millions)
    2017 Proposed (Millions)
    2018 Proposed (Millions)
    Northeast Corridor
    --
    555.0
    555.0
    700.0
    800.0
    State Corridors
    --
    225.0
    175.0
    125.0
    75.0
    Long-Distance Routes
    --
    850.0
    850.0
    730.0
    690.0
    National Assets, Legacy Debt and Amtrak PTC
    --
    475.0
    475.0
    445.0
    385.0
    Stations ADA Compliance
    50.0
    350.0
    250.0
    250.0
    250.0
    Total Current Passenger Rail Service
    1,390
    2,450.0
    2,400.0
    2,350.0
    2,300.0

    Passenger Corridors
    0.0
    1,300.0
    1,500.0
    1,700.0
    1,900.0
    Commuter Railroad PTC Compliance
    0.0
    825.0
    705.0
    470.0
    350.0
    Local Rail Facilities and Safety
    0.0
    125.0
    125.0
    125.0
    125.0
    Planning
    0.0
    75.0
    75.0
    75.0
    75.0
    Total Rail Service Improvements Program
    0.0
    2,325.0
    2,405.0
    2,370.0
    2,450.0
    Total Proposed FRA Authorized Programs
    1,390.0
    4,775.0
    4,805.0
    4,720.0
    4,750.0

    FRA spending detail derived from FRA Congressional Budget Justification documentation for FY 2015. Specific program breakdowns not provided in legislation.

    I'm part of the "bedwetting bunch of website Democrat base people (DKos)." - Rush Limbaugh, 10/16/2012 Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

    by tom 47 on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 08:05:23 AM PDT

    •  And the proposed change to prohibition of tolling (4+ / 0-)

      on Interstate highways is Section 1405 (summary):

      Bolding mine, noting that it is subject to Sec. of Transp. approval. Also note that tolling highways could be used to fund transit improvements in the same corridor, effectively a transfer from highway users (including trucks) to transit riders.

      SEC. 1405. TOLL ROADS, BRIDGES, TUNNELS, AND FERRIES.
      This section would amend the Federal toll requirements in 23 U.S.C. 129 by eliminating some redundancy in the existing language as well as ensuring consistency with the toll requirements in 23 U.S.C. 166. This section also would eliminate the prohibition on tolling existing free Interstate highways, subject to the approval of the Secretary, for purposes of reconstruction, thus providing States greater flexibility to use tolling as a revenue source for needed reconstruction activities on all components of their highway systems. This section would allow any State or public agency to impose variable tolls on existing highways, bridges, or tunnels for purposes of congestion management, subject to the approval of the Secretary.

      This section also would make minor amendments with respect to the conversion of HOV lanes to toll facilities in order to eliminate confusion regarding the applicability of Federal requirements. MAP-21 included these provisions in 23 U.S.C. 129 to clarify that High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) conversions are permissible under Federal law. The elimination of these provisions would neither restrict nor enhance the States’ authority to convert HOV lanes because the related provisions in 23 U.S.C. 129 and 23 U.S.C. 166 are redundant.

      This section also would eliminate the prohibition against tolling existing free Interstate highways for purposes of reconstruction by extending the eligibility that currently exists for the reconstruction of non-Interstate highways. In doing so, this section would render the Interstate System Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Pilot Program (ISRRPP) established under section 1216(b) of TEA-21 unnecessary, which would thus be repealed by this section.

      This section also would allow toll revenues to be used for costs necessary for improving public transit service, provided such service is provided within the transportation corridor in which the toll facility is located or the service contributes to the improved operation of the toll facility or the highway on which the toll facility is located.
      This section would further authorize the use of toll revenues for costs necessary to mitigate adverse impacts related to the tolling of the facility as identified under the NEPA process. It also would allow toll revenues to be used for other purposes eligible under title 29 or chapter 53 of title 49, if the public authority certifies annually that the tolled facility is being adequately maintained.

      This section would also require that, after October 1, 2015, new toll facilities on Federal- aid highways use only non-cash electronic technology for toll collection. The future effective date is intended to grandfather in existing section 129 toll facilities and any new facilities that may already be in advanced stages of development at the time of enactment.

      Finally, this section would increase the eligibility for the construction of ferry boats and ferry terminal facilities for ferries that carry commercial motor vehicles in addition to passengers and cars. The purpose of this addition is to integrate freight transportation into the ferry boat program, which provides a critical commerce link that cannot occur otherwise.

      There are some things to like in the overall bill, and some I disagree with.  How on earth will we pay for these needed improvements with a House (and some Senators) bent on putting ideological purity and party before practicality and needed improvements.  We will simply fall behind the rest of the world without investing in our infrastructure.  

      I suppose it will take several bridge, highway, pipeline and railroad disasters before Congress wakes up.  Let's see what crap the GOP puts up to oppose this bill, and I hope the Obama administration calls them out on the cost in money, foregone investment, injuries and deaths, and outright damage to the economy.

      IANAEconomist, but isn't a period of high unemployment, lots of cash looking for investments, and low interest rates THE TIME to make public improvements?!?!?  it isn't logical only if your intent is to only make money, and deliberately at the expense of the economic vitality of the country and its people.

      Wait, ... what did I just say?

      I'm part of the "bedwetting bunch of website Democrat base people (DKos)." - Rush Limbaugh, 10/16/2012 Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

      by tom 47 on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 08:30:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  As a Vietnam veteran who served honorably... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LieparDestin, smiley7, The Dead Man

    and in tribute to President Eisenhower who is known as the father of the interstate system, and as one of the victims of eminent domain when our family farm was taken to build a large interstate exchange just south of Cincinnati, I say...

    NO!

  •  There must be exceptions to existing law, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LieparDestin, terrypinder

    because I guarantee you that the Tri-State Tollway around Chicago--which includes parts of I-80, I-94 and I-294, is indeed a tollway, just as its name implies. I'm not aware that it became a tollway only when lanes were added, which is the only exception noted in your diary.

    I'm not taking potshots here (or pothole shots either!); I don't doubt some real change is being proposed. It may not be quite as ground-breaking a change in policy however as your diary implies.

    Fascism in the mirror is nearer than it appears.

    by PhilJD on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 08:32:17 AM PDT

    •  Hope thats the case! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PhilJD, terrypinder

      I have not read much on the issue, just the McClatchy article I ran across early in the morning when I was decaffeinated. Its made for an interesting discussions. I wish I could go back in time and add a poll, but I did not think it would make the rec list, thus getting a reasonable sample of results.

      If you stand for nothing you will fall for anything.

      by LieparDestin on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 08:55:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  reading the proposed legislation it seems (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PhilJD

      that the "greater flexibillity available to the states" is still subject to USDOT approval. Unless there's been a big cultural change at USDOT, I suspect a lot of tolling projects proposed will ultimately get rejected. But we'll see.

      tom 47 linked it elsewhere in the thread.

      Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility. uid 52583 lol

      by terrypinder on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 09:18:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It wasn't federally funded (0+ / 0-)

      to begin with, so no restrictions on tolls.

      (Oddly, the feds already allow more limited federal funding for non-Interstate routes with tolls on them; that's why the 895 bridge in Richmond, VA isn't I-895, since the project received early federal funding even though it was mostly built with private money later on.)

  •  I AM UNALTERABLY OPPOSED to TOLL ROADS (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smiley7, The Dead Man

    Am I clear enough? Raise gasoline taxes. Raise highway taxes. Raise income taxes. But do not instate tolls.

  •  Don't Pay (0+ / 0-)

    It's a fantasy to think that people will be brave enough to civilly disobey but I wonder if enough drivers will simply blow through the electronic pass lane without a tag to force the government to rethink this stupidity.

    Trillions for idiotic wars but pass the cost of what is already ours back to us. Fuck them.

    And as the song and dance begins, the children play at home with needles, needles and pins.

    by The Lone Apple on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 08:49:54 AM PDT

    •  For the Bundy's of the world maybe (0+ / 0-)

      they could get away with it. For the rest of us.. not so much.

      A widow was given ample notice before her $280,000 house was sold at a tax auction three years ago over $6.30 in unpaid interest, a Pennsylvania judge has ruled.

      If you stand for nothing you will fall for anything.

      by LieparDestin on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 09:04:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Y'all Are Just a Bunch of Peasants - (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LieparDestin, The Dead Man

    You're lucky we let you have cars.

    Sincerely,
    The 1%

  •  Gee, how about creating a more fair and balanced (0+ / 0-)

    taxation policy for America so that we have everybody ("corporations are people too") paying their fair share of the burden to keep this country running?  How about taxing every stock and bond transaction on Wall Street like other countries exchanges do?  

    How about...  

    You get the idea.  

    Nah, as that would take some brass balls to propose and pass such populist legislation, and we can't do that as we might piss off certain "entities".

    “My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that, and I intend to end up there." - Rumi

    by LamontCranston on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 09:09:39 AM PDT

  •  A gas-tax would be better, but... (0+ / 0-)

    getting drivers to kick in more for infrastructure is a good thing, even if the method isn't ideal.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 09:11:35 AM PDT

  •  Another winning Democratic Party policy! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LieparDestin

    This administration is on fire with fantastic progressive ideas!

    Best president ever.

    Hillary does not have the benefit of a glib tongue.

    by The Dead Man on Thu May 01, 2014 at 04:49:52 AM PDT

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