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  1. #1

    Default Toll Roads vs. Freeways - What's your take?

    I guess I'm a little confused on the whole concept of Toll Roads vs. Freeways.

    Aren't we paying an arm and a leg in gas taxes to build roads? According to Wikipedia the average fuel tax (State Tax + Federal Tax) is $.456 per gallon. That's a mean of $.272 per gallon for the state and $.184 Federal. Diesel is even more heavily taxed at a mean of $.502 State plus Federal.

    Where is all of the money going? I mean, how did we build a massive interstate highway system that is toll free when driving, but as our cities and metro areas keep seeing massive traffic congestion our collective governance has decided that Toll Roads are the way to go.

    Why toll roads? I've heard reports that Toll Road might be less congested, but are they better kept and taken care of? Is this just the building of the roads for the social elite as the sheer cost (in addition to road taxes) will keep many drivers off the road? For some people, the extra few dollars per day is money well spent to avoid traffic congestion. I can imagine for a traveling salesman or delivery driver this can get pretty expensive, but it might mean more business and faster service over the non toll-paying competition.

    Perhaps the question of toll roads is simply economic supply and demand and not a question of mismanagement. For example, when fuel consumption goes down, which it has been with most fuel-efficient vehicles, people driving less, consolidating trips - there will be a loss in revenue as less fuel is consumed every day. So if it really is a Hypothecation tax, where the tax money is taken from gasoline and fuel sales and pumped back into transportation projects, but with a shortfall of funds - and with the cost of fuel being a VERY hot political topic (that caused the instability that hurt the economy over the past couple of years) - I can see why politicians are hesitant to increase the tax.

    Anyhow, what's everyone's take on this? I guess I have a problem with the permanance of the tolls being forever. When I-30 was build between Dallas and Fort Worth, the toll existed just long enough for the road to be paid-in-full with profit for the firm overseeing everything. After that, the tolls came down and it's a freeway now. Is this the way of the future or just a temporary solution to a long-term problem that will someday soon see much revolt?

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  2. #2
    Jr. Apprentice jimmysierra's Avatar
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    Feb 2010
    Sierra foothills of Nor. Cal. Motherlode area


    Well, it seems Cal. has been collecting the taxes and spending it elsewhere. I hate beating up my vette on the holes and cracks on the interstates around here. What's up with that ? I was visiting in Ill. and Ind. recently and those toll roads are the pits. Every time you get up to speed, you cruise for 5 min. and then stop to pay another toll. Maybe a dedicated and honest gov't. is more the answer.
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  3. #3


    Texas (specifically the North Texas Transportation Authority) has new "no-stop" tolls that allow you to drive through and they will bill you at your house. I just paid for $11.88 in tolls from three trips that I did in January. There is also a toll-tag, that you get and put on the inside of your car windsheild and it will be scanned when you drive past the receiver at freeway speed on the toll road.

    The benefit for this is that you get a discount on the tolls when you drive them. I guess the other benefit (for the NTTA) is that you have already bought-into a system so you are more likely to use it in the future I suppose.

  4. #4


    Quote Originally Posted by jimmysierra View Post
    Well, it seems Cal. has been collecting the taxes and spending it elsewhere. I hate beating up my vette on the holes and cracks on the interstates around here. What's up with that ? I was visiting in Ill. and Ind. recently and those toll roads are the pits. Every time you get up to speed, you cruise for 5 min. and then stop to pay another toll. Maybe a dedicated and honest gov't. is more the answer.

    I've driven on most of the major freeways in Southern California and I think the freeways and primary roads are done pretty well there actually. Considering that 1 in 9 Americans lives in Southern California I think it's pretty impressive, but you're right the social costs of an entitlement state are cripiling the economy.

  5. #5


    Around here there arent any toll roads yet. I've heard of talk of placing one in the area and personally I wont use it. I pay a lot of taxes as is right now and I pay a lot of it in gas. I drive 95 miles a day in my old suburban which isnt exactly gas friendly. I for sure wont be voluntering any more money to roads I already pay for but thats my two cents.

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  6. #6


    I cant say I'm fond of the NTTA, tax dollars built the roads then the roads were sold to foreign interests that were granted license to charge a toll on the roads our tax dollars built and the NTTA is given back a portion of the toll fee's.
    The money from the sale of those roads has disappeared back into the goverment somewhere. And TXDOT and other state and local entities still foot the bill to maintain the roads. Sounds like a great deal for somebody just not the tax payers.
    They recently completed more work on the local toll road near me (state hwy 161) but their's trouble over this roadway as Grand Prairie city funds are being requested to complete the tollway (that the citizens of the city never wanted) the rush to complete the tollway is to ease traffic for the new Football stadium in Arlington, Jerry Jones has been quietly lobbying to have GP foot the bill for the toll road that will only benefit a football stadium that was built for him from Arlington city tax dollars, again a great deal for somebody but not the tax payers.

  7. #7
    Master Mechanic bigdaddy77084's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
    Houston, Texas, United States


    In Houston the toll roads/Freeways are like a parking lot during rush hours. They say the toll was to pay for the roads,now its to maintain them.
    Houston is a big concrete jungle. It dont bother me, ya wanna play your gonna pay.
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  8. #8


    All i can wish for is for roads like you guys have there. Here in Saskatchewan the roads are JUNK, they're complete garbage. The trans Canada highway suffers ALOT between Alberta and Manitoba. Here we pay $1.00 at least per LITER, There's 3.785 liters in an American gallon, so we're paying around $3.79 per gallon. Don't think you're so hard done by, we use to have to pay $1.40 per liter.
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  9. #9
    Legend mmorgan1865's Avatar
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    Feb 2010
    Port Orange, Florida


    Florida has an EZPass for its toll roads that allow you to drive through and they bill you at the house. It only works in Florida and is not compatible with the Epass that works in most of the northeast. It would be nice to have one system for all toll roads.
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  10. #10
    murdog94's Avatar
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    Feb 2008
    Cloquet, Minnesota, United States
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    Ive spent plenty of time on the IL tollways. Not a big fan. They were under construction. However it cost nearly $25 for a simple day trip.. That is ridiculous when you factor in the fact that i was paying nearly 15cents more a gallon for gas, and i know that some of that money was a higher road tax in the fuel..
    Here in MN there arent any tollways and i sure hope they keep it that way. I35 from MPLS to Duluth is always bening upgraded. And the taxes i pay at the pump are what pays for that...


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