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Tolls - Watch it!!!

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  Interstate Highway System

Tolls - Watch it!!!

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
January 28, 2008

See the article in USAToday about skyrocketing tolls and Pennsylvania's hope to start charging tolls on now-free I-80?

Think we are immune here? Think again!

How about a 60% increase in tolls on the G.W. Bridge between N.Y. and N.J., from $5 to $8 during peak hours? OK, so what are "peak" hours?

And the Indiana Toll Road's plan to boost the $4.65 toll for cash-payers to $8.00. They must have visited the Illinois Tollway one time too many.

And the N.J. Governor's desire to increase tolls 50% every four years?

I-80 in Pennsylvania is free right now. Are they ever ready to start milking drivers! How about $25 for 316 miles?

OK, so what about the Illinois Tollway? The worry expressed by more than a few when I-Pass came in is that drivers would be lulled into a sense of complacency when they didn't have to toss the coins at the basket every few minutes? Has that happened? You bet it has! Cash toll payers pay double; you can bet they feel it every time they have to fork out those eight dimes.

When will the Tollway start edging the tolls up? Maybe a little here, a little there? Or one big wallop, let the noise bounce around headquarters for a few days, and then "they'll get used to it." Well, I say, "Don't let it happen even the first time."

If the Tollway were effective in collecting missed tolls, it could probably lower tolls! If it prevented missed tolls by nailing every scofflaw right away, it could lower tolls. It could do that through increased video surveillance and more aggressive enforcement of obscured license plates and plates missing from the front of cars.

Video enforcement could be used by the State Police. Just mail a ticket for the missing front plate by inspecting recorded images of every vehicle not displaying a front plate or displaying one obscured by now-illegal license plate covers (those tinted or even clear but fogged glass or plastic covers). If the rear plate is Illinois, mail out a $100 ticket. And collect it!

Don't let the Tollway even tiptoe up to the line of increased tolls. Demand efficiency and productivity - not increased tolls!

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