Finally a Toll That Makes Sense, But Is Not Complete

There has been some rumbling recently about a sane toll. The proposals are for the tolls to be placed at the Virginia/North Carolina border. The beauty of this location is that the tolls would target interstate drivers, probably crossing for travel rather than work. It evens has a discount for those travelling to their work. This reprt from the AP:

Virginia and North Carolina officials are working on a plan to collect tolls from motorists on interstates 95 and 85 near the state line south of Richmond, Va.

Each state could receive nearly a $100 million a year under the plan being floated by Virginia state Sen. Frank W. Wagner, a Republican from Virginia Beach, Va. The money would have to be spent on improvements to the two interstates, Wagner said.

Wagner plans to introduce a bill next year that sets the toll at $5 for passenger vehicles and a higher tariff for commercial trucks. Wagner said he would propose a lesser fee for commuters who cross the border via interstate on their way to work.

Again, I like how this proposal targets leisure travelers over commuters. And I am all for tolls that discourage the destructive travel by car. But there is one more thing I want in a toll. I want the generated funds to be used to provide realistic public transportation. The only way to truly replace cars on the road is to provide an alternative, which includes tolls. So far the discussion of the tolls focuses on more road construction. For example:

In 2003 , North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley blocked a plan for tolling I-95 to finance $3 billion in interstate improvements.

The North Carolina Turnpike Authority is now considering as many as nine toll projects. And the General Assembly gave the state the authority to issue a special kind of bond that permits the state to borrow money against expected future federal highway dollars.

In Virginia, numerous road projects have been funded by tolls, including the Chesapeake Expressway and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.

Building more roads only causes more congestion. North Carolina is already 1st in roads, but this fact does not stop our congestion from continuing. More roads means more sprawl and more congestion. We need to start some realistic public transportation to break this cycle.