Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Toll Increases

I hope to get some feedback from Elwood on this. Tolls went up yesterday on the Dulles Tollroad. The tolls will be used to fund a Metrorail extension through Tysons Corner and eventually to the Dulles Airport (IAD). I guess that's why people don't like it. More to the point they are just pissed because getting quarters is hard.

Maybe more later, but a few links and a few points.

Boycott Tyson's

UPDATE (5-25)

Here's the website of the group urging boycotts of the Toll Road. If they have to take a day off of work to avoid the Toll Road, doesn't that kind of prove the State's point about the Toll Road being an important link that needs to be a funding generator for alternatives? And if they don't have to take a day off work and they can just take an alternative route to get to work, doesn't that weaken their argument that the toll increase is such a big deal?

My knee jerk reaction is to support the toll increase for rail expenditures, but I don't live there and don't know whether the additional rail line will lessen congestion or not. In and of itself, though, connecting Dulles Airport to the transit system seems like such a no-brainer I'm surprised it hasn't been done already (although JFK and La Guardia are not attached to the NY subway system, either - I think that has to do with the clout of the cab drivers' union).

Personally I think toll roads are usually a good idea - they make commuters pay for their own infrastructure, rather than forcing city residents to subsidize development that harms their interests.

It's an "external cost" issue to me: commuters are forced to compensate the public for costs their behavior imposes on society. Kind of like "sin taxes" on cigarettes and booze - such charges increase efficiency by discouraging behavior that imposes costs on others.
When we talked about this before (toll roads), I remember you saying that you liked toll roads because they make people pay for their own roads. I agreed. But since this money specifically isn't going for their roads, I wasn't quite sure about this. Obviously, I have no sympathy for these people - no one forced them to move 45 minutes outisde of the city (where they may or may not work). It makes sense though, that they wouldn't care about Metrorail to Dulles, because they live next door to it. The other direction, though, should be of interest to them. I assume the bottom line is all that is important to them, and smart growth or not, Arlington, Falls Church and Fairfax show that Metro stations increase property values.
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