Thursday, August 30, 2007

toll roads in PA

More on infrastructure from the N.Y. Times (hat tip: C-J)-- a popular topic in these parts (with the Ohio River Bridges in Louisville) and more broadly, with the Minneapolis bridge collapse and the anniversary of the Flood of New Orleans...

Anthony Foote spends a lot of time driving his Kenworth T-600 truck on Interstate 80 in Pennsylvania. He prefers it to the state’s other east-west highway, the Interstate 76 turnpike, which can cost him $140 in tolls. So the news that the state plans to impose tolls on I-80 was as upsetting to Mr. Foote as finding an ugly scratch in the purple paint on his rig.

“I hate paying tolls,” he said. “If this goes through, you’ll have a lot of truckers avoiding Pennsylvania — including me.”

Pennsylvania officials plan to build up to 10 toll areas along the 311-mile stretch of Interstate 80 in the next three years to help pay for road, bridge and mass transit projects and subsidies.

“I haven’t heard of another one,” said Bernard Weinstein, director of the Center for Economic Development and Research at the University of North Texas, which has done a half dozen studies on the impact of toll roads. “But I think most states will eventually have to move to the user principle. Tolls are going to be the wave of the future.”

How else should we pay for roads? Gas taxes as a proxy for use would be appropriate, but I don't see people getting excited about that prospect either. In any case, those who use should be those who pay. It's equitable and efficient...


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home