Friday, August 21, 2009

Toll roads bug me

Toll roads bug me. First, living in Michigan we don't have toll roads. But travel out of Michigan, in almost any direction and its time to get out your wallet.

As regular readers of this blog know, my wife and I have spent a great deal of time over the past two years in Western New York.

We regularly have to travel about a 1-mile section of I-90 to get to my mother-in-laws nursing home. Yes, there's a way around them, but so long it doesn't make sense not to pay the 15 cents to use the toll road.

New York is supposedly this great liberal, green State. So why does a "green" State think it's a good idea to stop long lines of cars, twice a day during morning and afternoon commute, and have them idle for long periods of time, burning fossil fuels and going nowhere just so they can get a toll card.

What are gas taxes for, if not for fixing roads? Ohio, same thing and Illinois is the worst. Try driving in and around Chicago during anything but the middle of the night and plan on long wait periods for the privilege of paying a tax for roads you have already paid for through your gas taxes.

If I were king, or at least a Michigan legislator, I would empower the Michigan State Police to stop any car from a state that has toll roads and immediately collect $10 from the motorist. The trooper could then issue a sticker with a date on it, so the person would not have to pay again for a particular period of time.

We don't charge people from New York, Ohio, Illinois or any other state with toll roads for the privilege of driving on Michigan roads and I think it's about time we did. Heck, we could use the money too.

My rant for the day.


Jan Scholl said...

I agree. We drive to Iowa and are barely on the stupid toll road. And it's very unforgiving if you get off the wrong exit such as having to pee or something. This past June with a young nephew in tow, we exited I80 at the Mississippi and took way off roads to avoid construction (they are as bad as Michigan roads, so where is all this toll money going to?) and we stayed off until Indiana. We wanted nephew to see the state from a non-freeway access and knew if we got on and off, we would be broke.

BTW-the Mega game site crashed and I was looking for online listing of the numbers. Chcek this out. Look familiar?

wonder if they have siblings?

Jim of L-Town said...

That was always the problem from the jump Jan. They provided one template for the whole corporation. MLive is is is and that was the problem from the get-go.

No chance for experimentation, no chance for one newspaper's website to stand-out from another. was the first attempt to break away from that template and so far, and it is less imaginative than the sites.

I'm not saying it would have saved the papers, but it might have helped to use each paper and the individual talents to find several different templates to find one that works.

Instead they listened to a small group of corporate gurus who thought they knew everything and the results are what you see today.

They will brag that they are highly read, but that is more a function of monopoly and necessity than desire.

It could have been so much better.


Anonymous said...


concur on the toll roads. if they were ultra smooth and ultra nice, that would be one thing. but you can't tell one from the other in Illinois.

We were looping around Chicago this summer, avoiding the toll roads as much as possible, and got in a horrific backup behind the booths. There were, as I recall, 5 booths. Two were open.

As traffic continued to be hindered — dangerously so — we watched as a toll road worker strolled out to a booth. You would have thought she was on her way to a picnic, as slow as she walked.

You've got two miles of "customers" lined up and you STROLL to the cash register?

That's the problem with the government monopolies ...

Kevin said...

Many of the commuters have EZ passes which allow them to pass through the fast lanes without stopping, eliminating any extra CO^2 released by idling.

Jim of L-Town said...

Many of those folks with the EZ passes were caught in the long back up until the last 1/4-mile or so when they were able to use their own dedicated lanes.

Before that they were idling away with the rest of us. And remarkably, there still seems to be a lot of New York license plates waiting in the long lines to pick up toll cards and to pay.

Ruth said...

There are some definite benefits to toll roads and I wish we had some in Michigan!
For one thing, people who use the roads, pay for them--people whose driving is a mile down the road to the grocery store don't use them, and don't pay for the roads.
For another thing, it encourages the use of commuter options by equalizing the cost (pay for tolls and parking, or pay for the commuter train)--especially in the bigger cities.
Having just spent 10 days on the east coast, with an EZ Pass given us by the rental car company, I would say that makes a huge difference--we sailed right through 95% of the tolls. And I can't figure out why locals don't use them? Maybe they don't know that a) they don't cost you anything to get and b) you get a 10% discount on every toll! I am seriously thinking of getting one for my trips east, and Jim--if you are in Buffalo a lot--or Chicago--or Indiana, Virginia, Florida, West Virginia--the whole east coast in fact--you should get one too!