We should have some

I’m a fan of toll roads.

The state Department of Transportation hopes by June 2010 to propose a toll road project under the state’s new transportation law, a DOT lawyer told a legislative committee meeting Tuesday.

No, not the scam that is GA-400, but real toll roads. You go to Florida or Texas and they have these awesome toll roads that get you where you need to go. I do think we are going to have to tackle some rail systems too, but toll roads are a good first step to a greater transportation plan.

Of course the DOT is just going to screw it all up.

45 comments

  1. Jeff says:

    Not sure about GDOT in general, but the new Planning Director, Todd Long, does seem to have a real good grasp of the overall concept with using tolls (and other “management techniques”, such as HOV-3 vs HOV-2) to allow for more (and more efficient) throughput.

  2. tinsandwich says:

    Its a good idea in general but the devil is in the details.

    I would be in favor of toll roads if the revenue is dedicated to:

    A) paying off bond debt for the project
    B) replacing tax revenue
    C) funding specific regional transportation projects

    Something like that. I think a Yankee toll road is great idea.

  3. Doug Deal says:

    I do not like toll roads unless they are strictly limited to paying for road projects. Otherwise, toll roads could be a way the government uses to restrict the free travel of citizens.

    “Um, yeah, there is now a $10,000 “toll” to cross the border into Alabama. ”

    “Uh, there is now a ‘toll’ on cars of $3 trillion per car, but busses get a HOV exemtpion.”

    Yeah, I am exaggerating the amounts, but you get the point.

    • Sleepy Tom says:

      Florida is its own oasis. No income tax, and beautiful Gator women.

      We cannot trust the yaybobs in Georgia not to screw toll roads up like they screw everything else up at the state level.

        • Joshua Morris says:

          I could handle tolls on private roads, as long as they aren’t the only ways to access certain popular destinations. This is where I differ with libertarians about certain things that should be done collectively.

          I believe toll roads that are publicly owned are wrong in principle.

          • Jeff says:

            IIRC, the basic idea Reason promotes isn’t full-on toll roads so much as toll (and/or HOV) LANES. The idea here being that you can choose the faster method or not, but the very fact that many people WILL choose the toll/HOV lanes reduces traffic in the other non-toll/HOV lanes, thereby improving throughput for the entire road.

      • ByteMe says:

        Privately funded roads, for the most part, have been a major failure wherever they have been tried. The only way the financing costs are low enough is if the state guarantees the bonds, so since we’re on the hook for the outcome anyway, what’s the point of letting a for-profit company do everything and make money on us if it succeeds or hang us with the costs if it doesn’t?

        As for the tax, you know that we pay some of the lowest taxes on gas in the country, right?

        http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxdata/show/245.html

        If you starve the beast for money, you get nothing useful.

      • I have, but I don’t consider it a scam. I’m usually able to get downtown from Alpharetta / Milton rather quickly. It’s typically only when I hit 85 that traffic backs up onto 400 and can grind to a halt at rush hour.

  4. griftdrift says:

    Cuz it was supposed to be a toll rd only until its own construction was paid, then the ledge realized they had a cash cow on their hands and changed the rulez.

    • tinsandwich says:

      It is actually not paid for yet. 20 years has not come around just yet.

      Once it is paid for then you can b*tch about it.

      • ByteMe says:

        The revenue they’ve received from the road has more than paid for the bonds and maintenance spent so far. The state diverted the excess revenue to other projects, including Atlantic Station. So the bonds remain, but they could have been paid off years ago and the road made a free highway.

          • Progressive Dem says:

            The only way to justify a toll on 400 now is to pay for the interchange at I-85. A major clusterf*ck at Sidney Marcus, Buford Highway and Chesire Bridge.

          • tinsandwich says:

            True and False.

            True the revenue has already been enough to pay for the bonds but false about the maintenance. The funds being diverted by the legs and now the Gub. are no different in that they both are diverting funds away from the tolls ever being closed. To close the tolls you would need enough money to; Retire all debt and fulfill all obligations. Such as tearing down the toll, realigning the road etc. The bond may be satisfied but the other part will never get enough money.

          • ByteMe says:

            They started diverting the money in 2001. Lots more cars have travelled down that road since then and they have been working on upgrades to a lot of the interchanges upstream from the section of road that the toll was originally supposed to pay for. And, no, still no upgrade on the section that needs it the most as it goes into I-85.

            I do think, though, that like gasoline taxes, there’s a lot of room to increase road taxes/tolls to pay for transportation options other than roads.

  5. Game Fan says:

    Toll roads suck. So does the NAFTA Superhighway. Whether it’s real or not. Just another “public/private partnership” that the neocons (corporate fascists) gets them wet in the crotch. Erick is a “No show” when it comes to opposing corporate fascism. He’s no Constitutionalist, and despite some of our best efforts he keeps sticking his head in the buzz saw. Sad. So sad. Toll roads are great for the sheeple too. They don’t mind being charged, stopped, monitored, scanned observed or anything else.

      • John Konop says:

        Most people think they are middle class regardless to income.

        ….The National Center for Opinion Research says 36% of people earning less then $15,000 a year call themselves middle class. Among those with incomes between $35,000 and $50,000, half claim to be middle class. And what about those wealthy Americans who earn more than $75,000 a year? 71% of them describe themselves as middle class. They can’t all be middle class, but Dr. John Russo with the Center for Working Class studies at Youngstown State University says the responses don’t surprise him…

        http://www.wksu.org/news/features/familyseries/middleclass_transcript.html

    • I’d support that as well as a northern arc to alleviate some of the trucks that head down 75, across 285 and then up 85… and vice versa. Who knows what will ever actually be accomplished, but those two would be my first two moves.

  6. kcordell says:

    Did I miss something? My eyesight isn’t what it used to be. Whose picture is that on “umustbekidding” post?

  7. GOPGeorgia says:

    “I could handle tolls on private roads, as long as they aren’t the only ways to access certain popular destinations.”

    Josh, I normally agree with you and even vote your comments up. However, if it’s not a popular destination, don’t build a road going there. If the state legislature did not spend funds from received 400 on other projects I might be more open to the idea of toll roads.

    Is it stands, I’m against them.

    • Joshua Morris says:

      The point I was trying to make is that I don’t have a problem with private companies charging tolls on a road that was built with private money. That’s a free market option to a publicly-provided road, from which an entrepreneur can profit.

      The distinction to me is that any road built with public money belongs to everyone, and certain people should not be discouraged from driving a publicly-owned road due to a toll.

      We’re too busy spending tax revenue to give people what they could provide for themselves rather than building infrastructure (roads, bridges, sewers, etc.), which individuals can’t feasibly provide on their own.

  8. Game Fan says:

    How about some full disclosure on all the corporate players involved? Since often times we’re talking about handing over control from point A to point B to private corporations, with a lot of “pie in the sky” and feel good ism ect… with the “movers and shakers” of Atlanta. And who’s gonna make money on the deals and, uh who’s opinions are really their own, ect…

    • Sleepy Tom says:

      “Full disclosure” generally only happens when one is in extreme circumstances of praying/begging for divine help in overcoming an obstacle.

      Like, “Please, Lord, I promise not to screw around on my wife anymore, or my mistress, or my girlfriend, if you just help me this one time…”

      Unless Sodium Pentothal becomes the 8:00 AM shot-in-the-arm everyone takes every morning, “full-disclosure” means nothing.

  9. gt7348b says:

    You know, I’m just curious. For those of you who say you’re against toll roads – why shouldn’t a consumer pay for what they consume (i.e. road space)? Why should all of us pay for roads we may not use? Why shouldn’t only those who use the road pay for a road similar to how only those who ride Delta pay for Delta between DC and Atlanta using one plane and pay another cost if they use Airtran? Shouldn’t we all pay for what we use and only what we use?

    • Game Fan says:

      “Roads” are considered part of the “commons” traditionally. You could probably write a book on all the possible bad scenarios when a single corporation or multiple corporations in collusion control the arteries (Interstate Highways) As one example, what if Mega Monstra umbrella corporation based in Shanghai consolidates all toll roads via hard lobbying efforts and hostile takeovers, ect…also gets involved in trucking? And they decide to pay for the gas too (with revenues generated by the tolls paid for by other truckers).

      • ByteMe says:

        Train tracks would be a good example of this had we had the foresight to not let 8 or so railroad companies control them all.

  10. gt7348b says:

    Also, for the record, I’m firmly in the pricing category because congestion pricing means that individual pay for what they consume on a direct basis. My thinking is that a road only has so much capacity (or supply) so demand pay to access the supply that is provide through public or private means. Right now, demand varies based upon time of day, so price of usage should vary with demand.

    • GOPGeorgia says:

      In theory, the role of government is to do what people cannot do for themselves, or do well anyway. We have a tax on cars when they are bought, and ad variorum tax on cars for owning them, drivers license fees, and a gasoline tax. How many more taxes do we need for paying for roads?

      If we got rid of some of these other taxes, I’d be more open to toll roads.

      People are not going to band together to build a road, unless it’s a developer building a subdivision. With new roads comes more traffic, business growth, and crime. Gotta take the bad with the good. Planning roads is a legitimate function of government, but it’s not something they have done very well, IMO.

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