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Old 10-18-2012, 01:48 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by bdickson View Post
Interestingly, we drove some toll roads around Denver CO about two months ago. The tolls were "Bill by Mail". I have not yet seen a bill. The vehicles are registered in NC, I wonder if it's just not worth their time chasing out of state tolls?
Usually it's quicker than that -- for us, the bill came in about 10 days. This was for the E-470. But they definitely send it because a huge amount of business is for all the rentals from the airport, many of which over time are not CO-registered vehicles.

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Old 10-18-2012, 02:06 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by SteveLevin View Post
Usually it's quicker than that -- for us, the bill came in about 10 days. This was for the E-470. But they definitely send it because a huge amount of business is for all the rentals from the airport, many of which over time are not CO-registered vehicles.

Steve
My daughter found out to read the small print in auto rental agreement. Seems buried in there you agree to pay a service $50 for matching a rental car ticket with the renter in addition to the violation fine. She got tagged by a red light camera in Scottsdale, AZ. She lives in Byron Bay, NSW Australia. I found out Arizona law says you must be served in person for a violation, so I suggested she ignore the summons until they knock on her door in Byron. She did have to pay the $50 (it's automatically charged to your credit card) but so far has not had to deal with the ticket. The red light ticket scam is something, she was in the intersection stopped, waiting for oncoming traffic to clear before turning left.

Back in the '60's when the first automatic tollbooths were implemented on the Maryland turnpike, my dad and I stopped at the booth in a rural area and pitched a quarter into the basket and proceeded. Bells and lights went off and he stopped. I jumped out thinking he had missed the basket and found some enterprising person had stuffed a rag in it preventing money from dropping into the machine. We imagined they were hiding in the bushes watching their wealth growing. I shook out the rag and allowed about 50 quarters to drop into the hopper. We never heard from the turnpike commission. --Not even a thank you.
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Old 10-18-2012, 02:16 PM   #31
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Fuel taxes were originally implemented as user fees based on the principle that those who use the roads (and purchase fuel) would pay for their construction and maintenance. The Federal fuel tax on gasoline has remained unchanged at 18.4 cents per gallon since October 1993. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of that fixed tax rate in funding roads has diminished significantly since that time due to (1.) 19 years' worth of inflation and (2.) improved vehicle fuel efficiency which translates to less fuel used (and, therefore, fuel tax collected) per vehicle mile driven.

Without even touching the highly political topic of diversion of fuel taxes for other purposes, even if all the funds collected from the Federal fuel tax were used for road construction and maintenance, the purchasing power of those funds has been significantly eroded. So, if roads are going to be built and then maintained, what options are available to fund the construction and maintenance?

Given the understandable reluctance of the politicians to raise the Federal fuel tax, the toll road option (as distasteful and inconvenient as it might be) is certainly an alternative for funding new highway construction and maintenance.

All this, of course, begs the larger question I posed earlier - if we want good roads, how should we fund them??


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Old 10-18-2012, 02:46 PM   #32
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As another "Easterner", I'm just used to paying tolls on many of the roads and, especially, bridges around here. I pay $4.00 to go to Delaware or Pennsylvania from here in Jersey, and a couple of bucks to get through Delaware on I-95. I grew up on the PA turnpike tolls, as well. As a side note, one "old highway that's now interstate" is the infamous Philadelphia area Schuylkill Expressway, I-76, running from King of Prussia about 20 miles west of Philly, into center city. Opened around 1955 and obsolete well before that, it's "free", only because had the powers-that-be tried to charge tolls for it, there would have been an armed insurrection. It's the only road I've ever seen with 65+ mph average speeds, and 65 foot long on- and off- ramps.
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Old 10-18-2012, 04:08 PM   #33
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As another "Easterner", I'm just used to paying tolls on many of the roads and, especially, bridges around here. I pay $4.00 to go to Delaware or Pennsylvania from here in Jersey, and a couple of bucks to get through Delaware on I-95. I grew up on the PA turnpike tolls, as well. As a side note, one "old highway that's now interstate" is the infamous Philadelphia area Schuylkill Expressway, I-76, running from King of Prussia about 20 miles west of Philly, into center city. Opened around 1955 and obsolete well before that, it's "free", only because had the powers-that-be tried to charge tolls for it, there would have been an armed insurrection. It's the only road I've ever seen with 65+ mph average speeds, and 65 foot long on- and off- ramps.
I am originally from Long Island New York also and am used to paying lots of tolls..... have paid $8.00 for the toad alone to cross the George Washington Bridge.. not sure what the MH costs as I have not yet seen my EZ Pass statement (not sure I want to see it either). Imagine my pleasant surprise when traveling to the Outer Banks of North Carolina this September and not having to pay any tolls to cross the sound and, in addition, I took the 40 minute ferry (motorhome and toad)from Hatteras to Ocrakoke and it was absolutely FREE thanks to the state of North Carolina... What are they doing right????
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Old 11-16-2012, 09:52 AM   #34
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In our travels, it's always pleasant to get out of NY and the surrounding states. In NY, with my truck and fifth, I;m classed as commercial and will soon be hit with a 45% toll increase on the Thruway. It currently costs me about $17 (with EZpass) to travel from Albany to Suffern, about 170 miles.
Now Md is talking about toll increases on their bridges to pay for maintenance. Well OK, but a 100% increase in the toll? Add Virginia talking about tolls for 95 and it gets crazy to get out of the northeast.
I don't have an answer but at some point, I think we reach the limit of what we can pay in taxes and tolls before we stop traveling. And that will not bode well for the rv industry.

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Old 11-16-2012, 10:26 AM   #35
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..soon be hit with a 45% toll increase on the Thruway. It currently costs me about $17 (with EZpass) to travel from Albany to Suffern, about 170 miles.
Now Md is talking about toll increases on their bridges to pay for maintenance. Well OK, but a 100% increase in the toll? Add Virginia talking about tolls for 95 and it gets crazy to get out of the northeast.
I don't have an answer but at some point, I think we reach the limit of what we can pay in taxes and tolls before we stop traveling. And that will not bode well for the rv industry.

Bill
They're all taxes, whether a Federal, State, Income, Property, registration, fuel, etc. A toll is a usage tax. It's going to cost to maintain roads, just how do you want to pay for them? Directly through tolls or indirectly through all the others. It's laughable when folks want to 'reduce taxes' they just want them hidden. Now if we could cut costs.... but highways are already built as cheaply as possible, that's why they need so much repair. We could reduce damage to highways if we reduced the weight limits, but that would raise the price of shipping.

I know it will bring down a heap of stuff on my head, but I see a train, being operated by two people and a few diesel engines, pulling hundreds of trailers on a track maintained by the railroad. Then I see a truck, with one trailer, one diesel engine and one driver on the highway we all share and pay for. Somehow doesn't seem like a great advance in smarts or efficiency, just convenience.
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Old 11-18-2012, 09:28 AM   #36
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It is really pretty simple...well not really but...

As discussions about national taxes take front stage with the impending "fiscal cliff", the "hidden taxes" that Bflinn181 talks about will have to go up. A large part of the discretionary budget is tied into funds such as those used for highway improvement. A betting person would say that would mean less highway money for states. This will force all other governments at the state and lower levels to decide what they can afford.

So, if you want a well maintained, toll free road system then states will have to raise state, gas and other roadway associated taxes/tolls. If you want a well maintained county road system...the same. This is repeated right down to the paved farming roads. It is simply a case of that it takes X amount of $ to achieve these things. Toll roads are one manner of obtaining $ for these things.

Does this set up disparity in road conditions in some states...YES! Some states just don't have the population and income to support major interstate roads that are mostly use as "drive through" routes but not major destinations in and of themselves. Perhaps that is where federal money will be needed.

Look, I am not trying to start a political firestorm. I'm just saying that it costs $$$$ to maintain systems and those federal $$$$ that states have been getting will be shrinking in the very near future. It is probably the beginning of a paradigm shift that will force state and lower governments to put these questions to their population. Do you want a nice shiny highway parallel to interstates and tollways? Do you want asphalt or dirt farm/rural roads? Do you want federal standards (and associated costs) or do you want the state designing the bridges? The alternative can go on forever but I think you get the picture.

Now, that is a very simplistic over view because there is much merit to the theory that state and local governments can find low cost bidders and such more easily than DC can and that also there is a cost to send money to DC only to send some of it back to lower government levels. OTOH, it does allow government at the lower levels to innovate and be held accountable which can be a double edged sword.

The only way I see this NOT being the case is if federal taxes are maintained at such a level that they are part of a jobs creation program that uses federal $ to stimulate the economy through infrastructure improvements. Again, that is a political discussion that is not the intent of my missive.
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