I will admit it, I live in one of the many towns in the 10 counties served by the Garden State Parkway, a toll road that has outlived its usefulness. Back in the olden days, the Parkway was considered a luxury, now with Route 1 and Route 9 suburbanizing, it has become a necessity, just like any interstate.
This is why I believe tolls have to go. Considering the hidden costs of toll collection (bureaucracy, personnel, collection costs, pollution, accidents), the Parkway tolls are an indicator of an ancient patronage system, and thus, the tolled parkway needs to go the way of the Connecticut Turnpike (Mianus River Bridge Collapse, anyone?).
I also favour the elimination of tolls on the Atlantic City Expressway, as it is a small road with its own separate bloated bureaucracy (the SJTA, as opposed to the Parkway and Turnpike’s Turnpike Authority). Furthermore, to gain federal funding for the maintenance of the road, I propose that I-76 be extended down through the Route 42 freeway and onto what is now the ACE all the way down to the first stoplight in AC. Furthermore, upon designated the entire Philadelphia-AC freeway as I-76, designate Route 55 as I-176.
In order to recoup the lost revenues, an extra 3 cents per gallon can be put on the gas tax, thus raising it TO 17.5 cents per gallon. I believe that the gas tax is the fairest tax, the more you drive, the more you pay.
But you say it will reduce revenues from out of staters? Consider that New York’s gas tax is 45 cents/gallon, Pennsylvania’s is 32 cents/gallon, and Delaware’s is 23 cents/gallon. We would still be cheaper than all surrounding states and cheapest in the Northeast.
Still not sold? Consider this, the cost to travel the parkway in its entirety is $5.50. Let’s replace that with the 3 cent gas tax bump. We shall use a large SUV, which gets around 10 mpg. It would take about 17 gallons to travel the entire length of the parkway, thus 3 cents extra/gallon x 17 gallons = 51 cents extra to travel the entire parkway. Assuming that a person drives said gas guzzler, their costs would be cut by 90-95%, and the percentage would even be higher in a Toyota Prius.
There is a reason why Connecticut eliminated its toll roads, because the overhead was just too much to handle, and that’s why several states such as Vermont and Wisconsin HAVE NEVER DONE TOLLS TO BEGIN WITH!!!!
Furthermore, I would recommend that the transportation trust fund have the same protections as the Social Security Trust Fund.