Driving in Missouri Takes its Toll
In an editorial published late last night, the Joplin Globe argues against instituting tolls on Missouri highways. The piece points out that Missouri voters have rejected toll roads twice in the past, and that residents in adjacent Oklahoma have been soured on toll roads:
Oklahoma is a big turnpike state. A few years ago,
56 percent of Oklahomans responding to a statewide survey said they
would happily do away with tolls, and more than half were willing to
use state-lottery revenues for that purpose. Of course, state lottery
money wound up being earmarked for public and higher education. But the
fact is that Oklahomans were tired of forever being required to plop
down $3.50 to drive from Tulsa to Joplin or Tulsa to Oklahoma City.
The editorial suggests that Missouri could raise funds for transportation infrastructure instead by increasing the motor fuel tax for a period of time, or increasing vehicle and license fees.
Now, I understand that people may not like the idea of paying $2 or $3 every time they travel up and down I-70 or I-44. For example, I go to school in Illinois, and every time I drive to Chicago I’m annoyed by the tolls on I-88 as much as the next driver. But the money collected helps improve highways, and does it at the expense of the people and businesses that use those roads the most. Raising motor fuel taxes or increasing license fees would affect motorists who don’t use the highway at all a far less justifiable fundraising base.
Also, I like the idea of having a guy like Little John collecting tolls on I-70.