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Tolls on Freeways Are Coming: Anti-Democracy

Written by Gary North on July 4, 2012

All of life is a trade-off between time and money. We either stand in line or we pay a premium to avoid standing in line. There is no escape from this trade-off. There is a time value of money and a money value of time.

At the end of your time on earth, the trade-off ends. You cannot buy any more time with your money. Death is the great democratizer.

The freeway system of Southern California is about to add a toll lane for rapid driving. This will let people who value their time pay for the privilege of saving it. It lets people offer high bids to get to their destination early.

This allows richer people to out-bid poorer people. This is a very positive political development, ideologically speaking. The principle of “high bid wins” governs the free market. The principle of “most votes win” governs politics.

The need for revenue in Southern California is primary. This need is allowing the shift from democracy to the free market.

This will be good for productivity. It is a bad idea to keep a rich man sitting in a slow lane on his way to work. Let him buy time for productivity.

If this experiment works politically in heavily Democrat Southern California, it will spread.

The fees can be adjusted in terms of the time of day: traffic load.

RFID technology makes this possible. To get into the high speed lane legally, you will have to sign up to have your car tracked. That is the downside. The government owns this information.

Think of it as RFID Mayberry.

Civil libertarians had better pressure the bureaucrats to turn on the tracking system only when a car enters a high speed lane.

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28 thoughts on “Tolls on Freeways Are Coming: Anti-Democracy

  1. This is going on in Atlanta already

  2. PELICAN1001 says:

    also on iI-95 in MIAMI

  3. Mike Knight says:

    They need a separate lane for slow road hog big rigs. That would speed up traffic quite a bit, and be safer since everyone doesn't have to bob, and weave around these ridiculous snail like monstrosities that plague our roadways.

  4. Ya, then when you get where you are going you can wait for the truck to get there so you can get what you are after. How do you think the food gets on the shelvs, and the cloths on the racks ?

  5. No problem for the poor – Obummer will give them tokens to use the fast lane just to make it fair while us poor middle class slobs in the slow lane will pick up the tab

  6. I respectfully differ on using the term "Anti-Democracy". The Free Market is essentially Democratic – people exchange resources based upon decisions.

    The idea of a "pay for fast lane" will not necessarily favor the "rich". The "pay for fast lane" will favor those who place a sufficiently high value on their time to pay extra for it.

    I have the choice of taking local Toll Roads versus "back roads" today. I live this system.

    The back roads are often crowded, full of school buses, large trucks, dangerous turns and wildlife. The toll road is wide, fenced in, and has no school bus stops. I save on average ten minutes per commute taking the Toll Road. In exchange I pay roughly half a dollar. For less than half the US Minimum Wage I avoid aggravation and potential expected losses to my automobile from collisions and physiological stress from unexpected stops.

    I welcome this development in So-Cal.

    I regret the possibility that a collusion of "Fairness Nannies" and Bureaucrats might eventually "make things fair" in So-Cal and probably make ALL of the roads Toll Roads, with a "sliding scale". It's not enough that we pay a "Road Use Tax" because we buy taxed vehicle fuels but we might also pay an additional tax through tolls if these people get their way. It's "Not Fair that the rich can go fast" after all.

    Nothing about "rich"…. it's the value that we place upon our time. One thing I've learned about Progressives – they do not value the time of other people. From Mass Transit, to taxation these folks do not seem to be bothered about how much burden that they impose upon people. Especially in making us wait in line.

  7. RIGHT ON!!

  8. Two problems with your analysis –
    1. you said "This allows richer people to out-bid poorer people. This is a very positive political development, ideologically speaking." – It also punishes general tax payers who are already involuntarily paying for the road to begin with.
    2. you said – "Civil libertarians had better pressure the bureaucrats to turn on the tracking system only when a car enters a high speed lane." ~ Too late ,Govt is already using pings from RFID tags on all roads ( tolled or not) where they gather traffic speed data.

  9. The underlying problem is being compelled to rent the infrastructure that our tax dollars — and that of our ancestors — has already paid for. We're going to pay tolls IN ADDITION TO the exorbitant taxes that are supposedly earmarked for maintaining this infrastructure. And the toll companies in many cases are foreign corporations and governments to whom Washington is so deeply in hock that it's ceding control of assets that don't belong to it. It's like the janitor has quit maintaining the building and is secretly selling it off room by room.

  10. You are absolutely right.

    It's all about priorities. There are people who appreciate automobiles and transportation more than real estate. They would rather live in a run down apartment and drive a 60,000 luxury car. Democracy and the free market allow people to put their money into what they think is important.

    Obama's method of governing forces people to put their money into what other people think is important. For democracy to work, anyone on the public dole should be having their life micromanaged by the government. Citizens who pay their own way should not have government interference. But Obama's method is to reverse that completely. I'm waiting for the day that Obama and the Kook Krutch Klan in Congress decide that a disproportionate number of whites and asians one Fortune 500 companies, and demand legislation to buy Fortune 500 Companies for deserving (but black only) citizens to correct the disparity.

  11. CJMcRat says:

    In Illinois the government is forcing people to buy I-Pass transponders. These hang in your front car window and everytime that you pass under the gate your account is billed the fee (tax). There is a plan in Illinois to place these gates over all roads into a given town so that you pay everytime you use any of the roads in that town. The initial thought is that if you use the roads frequently then you should have to pay a greater share for the upkeep. The bad part is that there is a government record of where you were and when. I am not sure I like the idea of Big Brother knowing where I go enery time I go somewhere.

  12. Candyman says:

    Regarding Mike Knights comments. I drive one of those monstrosities every day, and have to put up with idiots in cars bobbing and weaving all around me. That is what makes us slow down. There are many road systems that restrict big trucks to certain lanes (I-285 around Atlanta for one). My problem is with people who do not realize that everything they own (and I mean everything) comes by truck. Their car, the gas that goes into it, the cloths they wear, the house they live in, the food they eat, everything goes by truck. Even if it goes part of the way by rail, it moves from the rail-head to the store by truck. Also a good rule of thumb when you are bobbing and weaving around a truck, if you can not see the driver in his mirrors, he can not see you.

  13. I like the idea. Now if they would impose a gigantic fine for those driving at or under the speed limit in the passing lane life would be sweeter.

  14. Obviously you have never been a truck driver. How do you expect goods to get shipped to their destination, via teleportation? Trucks have to deal with idiots who constantly bob and weave in front of them. Most truckers who are going through a city rather stay in the center lanes as they don’t have to deal with merges.

  15. Patrick Davis says:

    If government malfeasance stands true to form, poor people will be given a subsidy to ride in the fast lane making it just as busy and slow as the old road. The “new” road will become the normal road and the old road will incur the same toll system, subsidies and all. Politicians will all agree that roads must have government given that they are so hard to build and take so much management to be successful.

  16. Boxerbuddyr says:

    They already do this in California. They have it with and without the transponder. They also change the price to the time of day people travel. It's Too expensive to use on a regular basis.

  17. A close friend who used to work in the courier industry quoted a saying very similar to yours, "If you got it, a truck brought it!"

  18. SoCal already has this as HOV lanes in high traffic areas like the 91 going through Santa Ana canyon between orange county and Riverside county. Also the 405 between LAX and the San Fernando Valley. Sometimes it's $10 one way to use this lane. There's also the 241 toll road from the 91 to south orange county which costs about $4.50 to use if you're going to Laguna,etc. All are voluntary. To make all the freeways into toll roads especially after the fact we already pay high per gallon gasoline taxes to build and maintain the freeways is double dutch to me. We live in the Riverside county area and my wife commutes to orange county. We can't afford to pay for the "fastrack lane" as it is with our gasoline bills being $450-500 a month. Converting all the freeways in SoCal to toll roads AND paying the high gas prices would kill us.

  19. Yes…..this is it exactly like I posted about before. Sometimes the "fastrak" lane will cost $10 to use when the traffic is the highest. They have to raise it like this in order to keep the fastrak lane lighter,etc.

  20. The I-405 in South Orange County is proposing adding car pool lanes with tolls. There have been meetings and most residents who would be affected have voted down the toll lanes. Now they're proposing adding additional regular lanes and one car pool lane without tolls. We have two toll roads , the 241 and the 73. The 241 has been has been running in the black while the 73 has not for sometime. The difference is that the 241 toll road services commuters that connect on to the 91 Freeway and there is no other convinient choice while the 73 has competition with the 1-405/ I-5 which do not have toll lanes at this time.

  21. exbuckeye says:

    Dash, I wish that your statement could have been in HUGE font! It is so true!!!!

  22. Jacob Steelman says:

    It would be much better to sell the freeways to private owners who can then decide how best to operate these roads. In Asia there are quite a number of toll roads but unfortunately the government is the owner and the private company the operator. So when the government decides that it is polically expedient they will end the toll road and convert back to a freeway. The Labor government did this on one toll road in Sydney, Australia before the last election. It did not work to save their necks in the election so bad had been their mismanagement of the state. Now we are left with long commutes in bumper to bumper traffic every morning and evening.

  23. Dave3148lufkin says:

    Look, you cannot understand, it's been several hundred years in the making. If can ever read to start with instead of writing or blogging about big issues.
    You are an item in a social mass!
    These forums are managed by the same people as you elect, usually lawyers ,they don't understand law just legal procedure, you are not a respondent or a defendant of anything , you are a claimant and you're adversary is not the applicant , they are the vassal , these judges are just umpires in a tennis match and you are suffering from neuro semantic political illusionist complex.the snow is black and the crow is white!
    Stop politicising nonsense and wake up. How can you do this with you're brain.
    You are talking balderdash.
    Dave.

  24. Treetorn says:

    It needs to be totally privatized or this will decrease civil liberties and raise cost as politicians asset themselves itself. But even if they do, it its probably the first step to total privatization. After all, the government will not be able to manage such things and there is no more money. Economics and communication will eventually usher in libertarian ideas. In the future, it is going to be a libertarian world.

  25. Treetorn says:

    What are you talking about? It seems that you don't know history or possible law for that matter.

    Most Roads used to be private, both domestically and internationally. Even Rome Roads were private. It has only been recently that the governess have taken over the roads and for political purposes I might add.

  26. HadEnuf says:

    The time has arrived for the people to take back their freedom by the only apparent method that is left. I'll let you decide which method that is! You are being taxed into submission and eventually oblivion. Our forefathers had an answer for that. It is coming to the point that if we are to preserve what is left of this DYING REPUBLIC, then we will be required to emmulate them! 1776…1776… 1776… DON'T LET A BUNCH OF NERD-^SS COMMUNIST BUREAUCRATS STEAL YOUR FREEDOM!

  27. madmemere says:

    "Freeways" is a ridiculous term for roadways that have been "toll roads" for decades- -what's new? If you don't want to pay the additional (tax) fee, take the old, secondary route – -besides, the scenery is much better!

  28. You ever think that if the trucks didn't have so many restrictions, and were allowed to go the same speed as cars, that maybe there wouldn't be near as many problems??? And like Evan said, IDIOTS that keep cutting in front of trucks also slow them down too.