Where Should Your Toll Money Go?

Should the tolls you pay to traverse a bridge or highway go directly to the upkeep of that roadway, or should they go to fund transportation projects, such as public transit? Five experts debate this question in the New York Times Opinion Pages.
October 9, 2012, 1pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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With cash-strapped states raiding toll revenues in their search for funding sources for a range of transportation projects, Sam Staley, economic development policy analyst with the DeVoe L. Moore Center at Florida State University and the Reason Foundation, argues against "robbing Peter to pay Paul," because he believes "[d]iverting toll revenue reduces transparency and undermines public confidence over the long run."

Todd Litman, executive director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute in British Columbia, delivers the counter-argument, that due to shifting demographic and economic trends, and the "uncompensated costs" of vehicle traffic, "it makes sense to shift money and road space away from automobile use and toward alternatives, like walking, cycling and public transportation, particularly in large urban areas where vehicle traffic imposes significant congestion, accident and pollution costs."

Other viewpoints are offered by Lexer Quamie, policy counsel for the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; Edward Rendell, former governor of Pennsylvania and mayor of Philadelphia; and C.W. Marsella, former general manager and chief executive of the Denver Regional Transportation District. 

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Published on Monday, October 8, 2012 in The New York Times
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