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Tuesday, February 20, 2007
In defense of toll roads:
Rodger Jones from the Dallas Morning News says:
Fact is, the (Trans-Texas Corridor) concept is nearly as old as the country. Believe it or not, I researched this. The Philadelphia-to-Lancaster Turnpike was the nation's first. And it was, in fact, a privately run road that was given the franchise by the government of Pennsylvania sometime in the 1790s. The state, you see, didn't have the money.
Sound familiar? You probably heard that Texas doesn't have the money, either. The state is way behind in road-building and is falling farther behind every year. Not enough money is coming in from fuel taxes.
Think that's a lie and part of some conspiracy? Hire a CPA, go to Austin and look through the books. Call me when you got something.
You want to raise gas taxes to build roads instead of using tolls?
I don't know about you, but I like the price of gasoline just fine where it is. I'm fine with people in Collin County paying tolls if they want to get from McKinney to Frisco on SH 121 freeway lanes. They want the convenience, they can pay for it. They moved there. No reason to involve me and the price of my gas.
Keep in mind that 121 has already been widened and improved to six lanes in stretches, and the rest of the work is proceeding. It's free. Take a look. On me. My gas taxes helped pay for it. Won't cost anyone a nickel to drive it.
But if you want the whole enchilada -- the addition of freeway lanes from Frisco to McKinney -- the money has to come from somewhere else. I can't think of a better source than the drivers who use the road.
I have to agree with Rog on this. User fees make so much more sense when applied to interstate and intrastate thoroughfares. God knows Texas needs some better roads too.
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