Toll Road Highway versus Taxpayer Highway
"Roads start wearing out practically from the day they open to traffic. Regular preventive maintenance keeps pavement from deteriorating prematurely. When that maintenance is skimped on, instead of lasting 50 years before needing complete reconstruction, a road may need to be rebuilt in 20 or 25 years. State highway agencies do the best they can, but their budgets come from state legislators. And those elected officials would much rather authorize spending for new roads and bridges on which they can hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony than authorize enough money year-in and year-out for proper preventative and maintenance on existing roads. So 'tax roads' end up wearing out prematurely and having to be rebuilt at great cost to taxpayers.'"
I am not going to lie as a citizen of a tollway heavy area, the toll charges add up quickly. But they are by far the best quality roads I have ever been on. Highways are so vital in big metropolises like Dallas and Atlanta where everything is spread out. It makes sense that if you use a road more than other people then the amount that you pay into that road’s maintenance should be more. If you barely use a highway, you should not be charged. Tolls allow for a “per use cost”, in other words a 1:1 ratio of cost to use. The people who use it more pay more. That makes more sense than everyone, irrespective of how much they use the highway, have to pay towards it with equal percentages, based on individuals tax bracket.
Roads are made of cement and pavement. Those materials are worn down every single time a car goes over them so it is not like there's an option where we don't pay money to maintain the roads. The question is not which option cost money, but instead which one is the best use of the money spent.
The beginning quote of this chapter shows us that the toll roads last twice as long as the state roads. If you can buy one thing and it lasts twice as long, why would you take part in the thing that has half a shelf life? Especially considering that highways normally funnel much more traffic than normal roads. They are designed to keep people moving without the crossroads of four-way stoplights or stopsigns. Government roads will wait for as long as possible to fix things. They will let holes tear up tons of cars until there are enough complaints to warrant them fixing the road because they are under budget. Versus the tollways partaking in constant maintenance because they are adequately funded by real time charges to the cars actually using the service.
Robert Poole from reason.org describes the difference like this,
"By contrast, toll roads are legally protected from inadequate maintenance. Those who buy toll road bonds insist on the first priority for using all total revenues is proper maintenance. Why? Because they realize that the total revenues they are counting on to pay the debt service and the bonds depend on the toll road offering high-quality service that makes people willing to pay tolls to use that road rather than non-– tolled alternatives. So the 'Bond covenants'- legally enforceable agreement between the toll road owner and the bondholders – guarantee proper maintenance. And that means the toll road will last it's full design life in good shape at a lower life-cycle cost than the tax road that has to be reconstructed prematurely. It's as if the toll road comes equipped with an endowment fund to pay for its maintenance. Unfortunately, there is nothing comparable to tax codes."
Basically, their accountability is legally obligatory. There is no procrastination until they are hated by the people who use the road because the road is so terrible that people's cars are being torn up. If the tollway companies did not upkeep their part they could sue them for the money lost. There is no minimum obligation for the public-owned roads on the other hand. In case you're unconvinced that this is a legitimate needed option, let's hear from the businessman-politician himself, Trump.
“President Trump's latest infrastructure plan outlines ways in which private-public partnership can help fix America's crumbling roads and bridges, including the liberalization of tolling policy so that private investment can have an active role in rebuilding America."
Trump is a businessman so he knows that we should not spend money unless we need to. In other parts of the economy Trump wants to fix the already public businesses, so if he wants to use the private arm to assist the public then he really thinks it's a good option.
In case Trump is not someone you think you can trust from a financial standpoint check out this quote,
“Transportation economists have often argued that toll roads are in fact the answer to improving America's roads."
So the people who think about the cost efficiency of moving from place to place have even advocated for it. There is not going to be anyone who is more knowledgeable about the subject than these guys. Congress has even tried to implement a bill that factors in the extra cost of roads that ought to be factored in but is not.
"Over a decade ago, Congress enlisted the help of a bipartisan commission of experts to find a solution to the transportation funding problem, and they came up with a 'Vehicle Miles Traveled tax' that would charge drivers per mile traveled. It seems perfectly reasonable that those Americans to use the roads regularly help to pay to maintain them."
So instead of having to do the charge in a roundabout way, why not just let it happen as it happens on the road from day to day. The upkeep of miles traveled and wear on the road is calculated through the tolls every time it's used. The private companies are keeping track of the miles traveled so why would we need to pass a separate law to keep up with the miles?
In order to help our minds accept this idea of paying for the roads we just need to recategorize it.
"Americans pay for the amount of water and electricity use, why shouldn't we subsidize the amount of road we use?"
If we need to put money into our cars and technology to keep them at optimum functionality then why should we not pay for our roads? Roads are the most important thing needed to have a good economy. Imagine if the world did not have roads that were made of asphalt or cement. We would go to drive and we would get stuck if there was any sort of liquid. It would be so hard to go at any great speed without risking damage to our car. It would be a nightmare. We have to imagine a world without something in order to appreciate it.
I say all this to say that society has needs. The government historically has helped the public meet those needs with public departments that have staff who do the numbers and hire the people to maintain these needs. The problem becomes when the government is stuck in the tradition that doesn't want to acknowledge that the need for public services is oftentimes being met and competing with businesses in the free market that are doing their job better. If the government would acknowledge that the toll companies and many other companies are already taking from the public services then they can liquidate those departments and let the fully functioning free market take over the responsibility. In the short term, jobs will be lost, but the private companies will have a need to hire people to do those same services that the public companies had been doing. It's really just taking the burden off the government funnel and allowing it to focus on the stuff that the private market is not able to help with. Which is mainly going to be within the parameter of the two principles, as discussed in section one, protection of the citizen's property and body. In the next chapter of this section, I will continue to prove to you other areas that the free market and private business are better than the public government-run services.
Tim Bankes II
Tim is a Christian author. His worldview that informs his writing is Calvinist, Baptist, and Libertarian. His main series is his Christian picture book series, "About God for Kids", where he discusses the attributes of God in a way kids can digest. He also wrote a Christian Romance novel, libertarian book for beginners, and Christian coloring books. He graduated with a Bachelor's in Biblical Studies from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
He has written a book on freedom called “Are You Free” (If you are into listening to books I have it in audio also, Are You Free Audiobook )and he has written multiple children’s books about God. Be Sure to check out the podcast version of the blog, Labor for Truth Podcast. And check out “The Truth About” Youtube Channel. You can find his works at his amazon author page, https://amazon.com/author/timbankes. He even has a free digital ebook on how God is the creator. Get your free copy today at, Greater Creator .Also If you are into Christian Fiction, he has made his first book in his Futuristic Christian Fiction series free, Her Dying Wish
Some of my other favorite books on these subjects that are great for beginners to the liberty movement are:
Faith Seeking Freedom by Norman Horn, Doug Stuart , Kerry Baldwin, Dick Clark (Christian Perspective)
The Libertarian Theology of Freedom by Edmund Opitz (Christian Perspective)