Monday, August 29, 2005

Gerald Baliles Proposes Interstate Tolling

Virginia could reap about $1 billion a year if it set up a network of tolling stations on the state's interstate highways, says former Gov. Gerald Baliles in an Aug. 23 letter to state Sen. John Chichester.

Baliles' proposal is directed at Chichester's Statewide Transportation Analysis and Recommendation Task Force (START), which holds its first meeting next month.

Writes Baliles: "When you dig into the statistics on vehicle miles traveled in Virginia, one fact jumps out. The vast majority of the growth is on the interstate highway system." Setting up 38 tolling locations would raise $1 billion a year, and tolls are indisputably a user fee, which has more political support than a tax increase, he says. "A billion dollars of new money annually, sustained over 12 to 15 years, for example, would give Virginia resources to address a long list of significant projects."

Among the projects are the Third Crossing in Hampton Roads, widening Interstate 81 in the Shenandoah Valley and a "long list" of road improvements in Northern Virginia, and some key rail projects.

The tolls - collected electronically - would average 85 cents, but could vary, such as lower tolls for commuter routes and higher tolls at border crossings, or different tolls for trucks, etc. Plus, tolls could be lowered across the board if another funding source were found for the $1 billion, Baliles says.

Baliles also proposes creating Port District Transportation Funds, tax districts that would use the revenues collected to build key infrastructure. Baliles uses as an example the $130 million Virginia spent in 1989 to upgrade Route 28 next to Washington Dulles International Airport, an investment that, a decade later, produced $6 billion in economic activity a year and $1 billion increase in property values, he says.

13 Comments:

At 2:25 PM, Blogger COD said...

Plus, tolls could be lowered across the board if another funding source were found for the $1 billion, Baliles says.

ROFL. That's a good one - tolls going down. Anybody know of a single instance of tolls being reduced because new funding was found, or the original project was paid for?

 
At 4:15 PM, Blogger Ray Hyde said...

How can you collect tolls electronically on the interstates whwere many travelers are from out of the area. I know that some of the electronic toll systems are interoperable or widely used, but this could be a bit of a problem.

 
At 4:15 PM, Blogger Ray Hyde said...

I think 95 in Connecticut did away with tolls - used to be known as the connecticut turnpike.

 
At 4:41 PM, Blogger Steve Haner said...

Ray: I suspect you are right but I also suspect that in the next few years the EZ Pass concept is going to spread like ATMs did.

The technical details are debatable but the scope is interesting -- 38 toll booths all across the commonwealth. Every border crossing and major junction. A billion dollars a year in revenue. No private profit margin reducing the take. It is a debatable alternative to more traditional gas taxes and user fees, and to the idea of selling off our existing infrastructure.

Just left the Wardrup Commission transporation meeting, which got a briefing on the Dulles Toll Road concept. They call it a "concession." The state gives private entities a "concession" to manage the road and collect all the tolls. I like that word. It reminds me of the concession stands at the ballpark, where you pay $6 for a beer and $5 for a hotdog you could get outside the ballpark for half that.

 
At 7:24 PM, Blogger Bob Burke said...

Give Baliles credit for putting out a proposal that the rest of us can throw stones at. It's obviously got merit. So does Steve Haner's observation that any toll-collecting technical issues can probably be worked out. We're all going wireless, remember?

Also, I sense in Chris's initial post the increasingly quaint assumption that asphalt travelers shouldn't have to pay their own way.

 
At 8:37 PM, Blogger Ray Hyde said...

The nice thing about this is that a lot of the money will be paid by "other people". Virginia is a big state though, with only 38 toll booths it is easy to see how inequitable this could be or could become.

I still think it is better to tax cash flow directly, but travel is so closely connected to the economy that this might make a good proxy.

I'm not sure why some teenager idly making the circuit around town looking for girls should ride tax free and the trucker bringing in our meat and vegetables should get taxed because he goes throgh an intesection.

On the other hand this would pick up some revenue from people who are otherwise just passing through, so there are enough ups and downs with this to go around.

I presume the funds would be used only for transportation projects.

 
At 12:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes I do know of an instance. Virginia Beach used to have tolls on what was I-44 to and from the Oceanfront, but took them down in the middle 90's after the road was paid for.

 
At 10:23 PM, Blogger Ray Hyde said...

That's two. And weren't there tolls in Petersburg once upon a time?

 
At 8:22 AM, Blogger Jim Hoeft said...

There were also tolls on the tunnels here in Hampton Roads...and those tolls are being revisited. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel just raised its toll to $12 -- one way. This kind of keeps the Eastern Shore undeveloped.

At any rate, never had a problem with EZPass on my commutes from Newport, RI here to Norfolk. Thought that it was a great idea for the frequent traveler.

For the infrequent traveler, they will still be stopping at the toll booth. The hassle is not all that great. Most toll booths I transited in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, etc. were fairly expeditious.

Just traveled the ultimate toll road -- the PA/OH turnpike. Traffic still is heavy, so I can't imagine how much money the states must rake in from those roads.

Travelers -- especially those using I-95 as a thoroughfare -- would not think much of paying $5 to cross the state.

The internal rate should be minimal (ex. getting on in Emporia and off in Alexandria could be miniscule, say $0.50?).

 
At 6:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi !.
You re, I guess , perhaps curious to know how one can collect a huge starting capital .
There is no need to invest much at first. You may begin to receive yields with as small sum of money as 20-100 dollars.

AimTrust is what you need
The firm represents an offshore structure with advanced asset management technologies in production and delivery of pipes for oil and gas.

Its head office is in Panama with affiliates around the world.
Do you want to become really rich in short time?
That`s your chance That`s what you desire!

I feel good, I began to take up income with the help of this company,
and I invite you to do the same. If it gets down to choose a correct partner utilizes your funds in a right way - that`s the AimTrust!.
I make 2G daily, and my first deposit was 1 grand only!
It`s easy to start , just click this link http://aqiwymol.o-f.com/rytaqys.html
and lucky you`re! Let`s take our chance together to feel the smell of real money

 
At 1:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good day, sun shines!
There have were times of troubles when I didn't know about opportunities of getting high yields on investments. I was a dump and downright pessimistic person.
I have never thought that there weren't any need in big starting capital.
Nowadays, I'm happy and lucky , I begin to get real money.
It's all about how to choose a proper companion who utilizes your money in a right way - that is incorporate it in real deals, and shares the profit with me.

You can get interested, if there are such firms? I'm obliged to answer the truth, YES, there are. Please be informed of one of them:
http://theblogmoney.com

 
At 6:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi!
You may probably be very curious to know how one can make real money on investments.
There is no need to invest much at first.
You may commense earning with a money that usually goes
on daily food, that's 20-100 dollars.
I have been participating in one project for several years,
and I'm ready to share my secrets at my blog.

Please visit blog and send me private message to get the info.

P.S. I make 1000-2000 per daily now.

[url=http://theinvestblog.com] Online investment blog[/url]

 
At 4:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good day, sun shines!
There have were times of troubles when I didn't know about opportunities of getting high yields on investments. I was a dump and downright stupid person.
I have never thought that there weren't any need in large initial investment.
Now, I feel good, I begin to get real income.
It's all about how to choose a proper partner who utilizes your funds in a right way - that is incorporate it in real deals, and shares the income with me.

You may get interested, if there are such firms? I have to tell the truth, YES, there are. Please be informed of one of them:
http://theinvestblog.com [url=http://theinvestblog.com]Online Investment Blog[/url]

 

Post a Comment

<< Home