The White House sent a plan to Congress yesterday that would allow states to turn federal interstates into toll roads, which they currently can’t do.
This would be a failed move to collect monies for improving interstates and serve only to track motorists.
“Tolling has proven to be an inefficient mechanism for collecting transportation revenue, consuming up to 20 percent of revenue generated, and those paying the toll may not even see that road improved because the president’s plan would allow toll revenue to go to other projects in the state,” states Miles Morin, spokesman for the Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates. “The option for states to place tolls on existing interstate capacity has existed for 23 years and not a single state has used tolls in this way – not just because the idea is unpopular, but because it’s bad policy.”
Of course, the administration knows this. It’s just another way Obama can shoot holes in our economy while simultaneously tracking us on interstates, which is already happening in New York where drivers are tracked by their toll tags that’s mounted to their windshields, even when the drivers are no where near a toll booth.
You can see this tracking in action in this video below, where one driver, concerned for his privacy, shows how his toll pass is scanned multiple times without him being near a toll booth.
“I took my E-ZPass and figured out how to let me know when it was transmitting,” he stated. “Then I reverse engineered the E-ZPass protocol radio.”
States are currently barred from tolling federal interstates except if the tolls are used to pay for the construction of additional lanes, which rarely happens, or for specific turnpikes which existed prior to the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956.
But if Congress enacts the White House plan into law, states could implement tolls on interstates throughout America, a nightmare scenario that’s already raising concerns.
“Tolling has proven to be an inefficient mechanism for collecting transportation revenue, consuming up to 20 percent of revenue generated, and those paying the toll may not even see that road improved because the president’s plan would allow toll revenue to go to other projects in the state,” the spokesman for the Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates, Miles Morin, said. “The option for states to place tolls on existing interstate capacity has existed for 23 years and not a single state has used tolls in this way – not just because the idea is unpopular, but because it’s bad policy.”
“Tolling existing interstates is inefficient, causes traffic diversion and increases supply chain costs that hurt businesses and consumers.”
And it would also allow the government to easily track motorists by connecting to their toll tags, which is already happening in New York.
Both the New York City Department of Transportation and Transcom, a traffic management agency, admitted that for nearly 20 years they have been using antennas to connect to E-ZPass toll tags in vehicles traveling not just in New York but neighboring states as well.
“We’re being watched in ways that I think none of us would have imagined,” the executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, Donna Lieberman, told WBGO.org. “It’s happening without any public scrutiny, without any decision that’s consistent with checks and balances.”
And sure enough, the idea to start charging tolls on existing interstates originated at the federal level.
Back in 1998, Congress created the Interstate System Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Program which offered states the option to generate road maintenance revenue by tolling sections of existing interstate.
But due to strong public opposition, none of the states ever joined the program.
“All efforts to place tolls on existing interstate lanes under the ISRRPP have been unsuccessful,” the Vice President of Government Relations and Public Policy for the International Franchise Association, Jay Perron, said. “Numerous states, as well as the federal government, have wasted time and squandered millions of dollars through both the application process and studies conducted to analyze the impacts of tolls on area communities.”
“It defies logic to extend an initiative that failed at the pilot level to the entire country.”
Yet that’s exactly what the White House is trying to do now, and considering the Obama administration’s long history of top-down decisions which have only exacerbated both the loss of privacy rights and America’s economic decline, it comes as no surprise.
“If you bought it, a truck brought it,” states an old adage by the trucking industry, so expect to pay more for everything you buy while also giving up more of your privacy if interstate tolling is implemented.