Taking a toll

Zane A. Spindler/Kimble F. Ainslie
National Post
March 8, 2001

Re: Toll Today’s Roads, Don’t Build More (Lawrence Solomon, Feb. 27). I have a better slogan for you: Earmark federal and provincial fuel taxes and royalties for roads only. These amounts are currently sufficient to pay for maintenance and future construction, if they weren’t squandered on less productive and growth-minimizing government transfers and bogus infrastructure boondoggles.

Fuel taxes and royalties are already technologically related to various important factors of road use. Arguably, they already overcharge for road transport costs. Congestion costs are already largely internalized to those who participate in their creation. Adding further tolls will simply increase the costs of transport and transportation, which in many cases will be passed on to consumers, increasing the CPI, COLA wages, and urban rents/housing costs, while decreasing the rate of productivity growth.

Provinces would not have to resort to tolls if the federal government actually did something meaningful for the infrastructure from which they indirectly collect too much revenue.

Zane A. Spindler
Cape Town, South Africa

Re: Toll Today’s Roads. Lawrence Solomon is quite right to suggest tolling Ontario’s roads. Where he errs is in organizing a transportation strategy around his organization’s urban revitalization agenda. Let transportation routes be led by an economic development strategy which presumably focuses on economic growth.

And so, let us jettison the nineteenth century notion of two-lane roads which dominates Ontario’s road system. Let’s pursue such projects as a four- to six-lane road directly from Mississauga to Ottawa and thus a high tech corridor, and build a four-lane road from Goderich to Port Stanley and sustain a tourism corridor.

Those who doubt the wealth-creation benefits need only travel the four-lane roads that link every town in the state of Georgia, north, south, east and west. Georgia’s transportation system, among other reasons, will explain the difference in prosperity between the American Southeast and Ontario.

Kimble F. Ainslie, Senior Political Economist
James Madison Institute, Tallahassee, Fla.

Full article: urban.probeinternational.org/transportation/toll-roads/toll-todays-roads-dont-build-more

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