North Carolina drivers are paying the highest gasoline tax south of The Mason-Dixon Line. Now, our state government wants to shake us down for what’s left in our pockets by implementing road tolls. The tolls are reportedly for financing the planned expansion of the portion of Interstate 95 that runs through the Tar Heel State. Wait. I thought we were paying this astronomical gas tax so that our state government could pay for road improvements. Why can’t we dig into THAT money? (I guess it’s kind of like the revenue from The Education lottery. Record numbers of people are playing the lottery, but Lame Duck Bev continues to tell us we are NOT spending enough on “the children.”)
I experienced tolls while living in the Richmond, Virginia area in the 70s and early 80s. You had to carry a bunch of change around with you in the car all the time. There were always traffic jams around the toll booths. After massive protests, the booths were removed. I understand there are now some toll roads in Northern Virginia and in Florida. Drivers can buy debit swipe cards to get through the tolls. What happens, though, if you leave the house, late for an appointment, and forget your swipe card?
We don’t have a revenue problem in Raleigh. We have a spending problem. Tolls are another tax, which we — in the middle of an economic mess — do not need. The conservative majority we elected to Raleigh in 2010 needs to nip this in the bud, and find some other way — like actually spending the revenue from that exorbitant gas tax on ROADS –to finance this project.