Friday, January 28, 2011

Updating The Road System

CNN has an article on their website this afternoon that dovetails The Road System into The State of the Union.

The invasive use of GPS tracking of our cars, and thus of all of us, is proposed as a wonderful way for private companies to charge us for driving on their roads.  Instead of stopping at toll booths we would all have to equip our cars with monitoring devices.  If you’ve read my earlier posts in The Road System series you already know my feelings on the subject.  (The posts linked are in reverse chronological order)

Another suggestion in CNN’s article is that the cost of the tolls could be adjustable.  “Congestion Tolling” they call it.  Gouging during times of high traffic flow is more like it!  I see gas stations doing that particularly during the holidays.  This gouging is on a daily basis just for trying to get to work. 

Touting the supposed benefits of gouging toll rates during rush hour the article states that it would have environmental benefits by reducing traffic and the pollution it causes.  Even if drivers are able to rearrange their schedules to avoid being gouged, they will still have to get to work at some point.  All that will do is shift the time of day when the pollution occurs.  It will not reduce at all.  In fact it may actually cause pollution to increase since it would make arranging to carpool that much more of a hassle!

By the way, did you notice who would be collecting the tolls?  The article’s primary focus is to recommend that the government get out of the highway infrastructure business altogether and have private for profit companies take over in their stead.  Now correct me if I’m missing something here, but isn’t one of the main reasons the government is in the highway infrastructure business in the first place because there are an awful lot of roads around this vast nation that simply wouldn’t be built if it were left to private for profit companies to build them? 

And another thing: The Federal Highway system is not a commerce system – it is a MILITARY system!  If you pay close attention as you are driving along our nations highways you may notice that one mile in every ten is strait and level.  The highways were designed that way to allow them to serve as runways for our nations military aircraft.  The roads themselves were funded and built to allow our military to efficiently move troops and supplies anywhere they may be needed.  Is that something we, as a nation, are ready to privatize?  I think not!

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