More Feral Government Digging Into Your Pocket!
In America, as in many parts of the world, We, the people, are in hard economic times. Home foreclosures are at an all time high. Items essential to simple existence, such as food and heating costs, have skyrocketed. And, although temporarily declining in price, the cost of going to work each and everyday had reached over $4.00 per gallon! The 'Cost of Living' - that of just making ends meet for many of us - is climbing each and every day and, in response, many of us re-examine our expenses and 'tighten the belt' on some luxuries, sometimes finding it necessary to cut back on essentials!
Simple economics state when expenses exceed income, either raise income (hard to do in these days of rising unemployment) or cut expenses. Business that find themselves bringing less income cut back on expenses by lowering costs, often times requiring staff cuts through layoffs, or they may raise their income by raising the price of the product. Of course, raising the price of products just begins the vicious cycle of digging further into your pocketbook, necessitating you to cut back on even more expenditures. Multiplied several million-fold, this is the reason we are in the situation we're in - no one is spending money on 'non-necessary items', and this affects economics.
The cost of doing business also affect governmental agencies, whether it be the City of Toledo, the State of Ohio, or the Feral Government (yes, 'Feral' - see definitions from 'Wiki' at the end of this column). And now, according to the story , the Feral Government has come up with a sure-fire way to dig even farther into your pocketbook! They are now wanting you to pay for the 'privilege of travel' - whether it be to Aunt Mary's house at Christmas on the other side of the state or your daily drive to work on the other side of the city. The want to tax you to drive! The Feral Government is 'lobbying' the States to convert their freeways to toll roads. Although the column mentions "lobby state governments", it is my bet that it will be similar to the Feral Government's "lobbying" the states to lower the freeway speeds to below 70 mph- "Lower the speed or risk losing Federal monies." or "Raise the legal drinking age or risk losing Federal funds." Lobbying" is nothing more than 'nice-speak' for extortion. Sounds better. Kind of like "collateral damage" means innocent civilians killed.
Do you think it will stop with the freeways? Am I being too cynical by thinking it ain't gonna stop there? Today, I-75, tomorrow, the Anthony Wayne Trail! New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed charging $9 per car entering downtown Manhattan during business hours - What's to say Toledo won't see it as a 'cash cow' and start charging for the 'privilege' of entering downtown Toledo?
I'll say it now, as I've said it for quite awhile - the Government - especially the Feral Government - has gotten WAY out of hand and it's time to do something, instead of going along with it like a bunch of sheeple!
And my reasons for referring to 'our government' as Feral? If one looks up the meanings of 'feral' - such as in 'Wiki', one will find the following definitions:
escaped from domestication and returned, partly or wholly, to its wild state. (Doesn't get much 'wilder'!)
from Latin fera, "a wild beast" (and quite the 'beast' the government is!)
seeking out new territory or range to exploit and displaying active invasiveness (and seeking more ways to invade people's life)
can have a significant impact on an ecosystem by predation on vulnerable plants or animals, or by competition with indigenous species. (self-explanatory, with us being the 'vulnerable plants/animals!)
Quite fitting, I think.
Or they will lease them to party connected corporations who will remember the party in their contributions to politicians. Remember Blackwell wanted to lease the turnpike system to an eternally grateful contributor. Just like the granting of road contracts in Ohio; if you fly the politicians around in your plane and give them a set of condo keys, you are certain to win highway bids. Its a cost of doing business.
I actually like toll roads if the tolls are removed once the road bonds are paid for in full. Kentucky did this years ago, and once the bonds were paid off the tolls went away. Toll roads are good because they only charge the people actually using the road and not people in other regions of the state or even other regions of the country. A great example is the now infamous "Bridge to Nowhere." That quarter of a billion dollars was going to come out of our tax money despite the fact that we would never use it. Now, if the people of Alaska wanted to make it a toll bridge so that only the people that used it would pay for it then I would be all for that project. Fortunately, that project was killed, but there are countless other examples of this around the country.
And if it were my choice I would lease the Ohio Turnpike to another party and use the revenue to complete the Ohio Hub initiative which links all the major ohio cities (as well as Detroit, Buffalo, and Toronto) by high speed rail. The state gets the benefit of forgetting about maintenance and upkeep and we also get a modern, efficient, clean, and safe way to travel between the population centers of the state.
The Feral Govenment already collects 18.4 cents per gallon in gasoline excise taxes. The Peoples Republic of Ohio collects another 26 cents per gallon. Now the governmet wants to collect tolls too?
I think the idea for toll roads is only on new highways. Therefore, it is completely by choice that you would pay the toll. Although that works for many existing Toll Roads as well. For example, Route 2 is four lane for more than half the distance between Toledo and Cleveland. When people take the Ohio Turnpike it is by choice. You can use Route 2 if you want and it won't cost anything.
The simple fact of the matter is that over time gas taxes are going to decline. Our gas usage has decreased 5% over the last year, which means gas taxes have taken a 5% hit as well. And further drops in revenue are going to happen as cars become more efficient and as electric/propane/hydrogen/natural gas cars gain more and more prominence. Hopefully gas taxes become a thing of the past because we will have moved away from a petroleum based economy. As that happens, maybe it is time to use toll roads to fund new development with remaining gas taxes for maintenance only. Once gas taxes are gone I wouldn't mind going to a mileage based tax (but I don't think it should be both at the same time) since that is in essence a usage tax. If you use the roads, you pay. If you don't use the roads you don't pay. Seems pretty fair to me. (This also assumes government is fiscally responsible and only funds projects that are truly needed.....which I realize is probably not a safe assumption).
What we need to do is sell the roads to private enterprise, and then GraphicsGuy would have no trouble with them charging a toll for it. The state could sell it for a profit, or a dollar (depends on what you think is the best relationship with "free enterprise"), and we could have the same kind of relationship with the "toll road" as we have with the bridge in Detroit that we pay a private citizen to cross.
Could sell the Ohio Turnpike to a private company, they could fire all the toll workers, hire less people that will work for less, put the money back into the infrastructure and the actual road. Consider that they save from not having to pay about 50% dead weight including commisioners and they would definately come out ahead.