Toll hoax: Funds not being spent on roads

May 18, 2011

Congratulations to The Baltimore Sun and Michael Dresser ("For whom the tolls toll," "The era of cheap road tolls in Maryland is over," May 16). Between the two articles on tolls, Maryland motorists are now convinced that they are responsible for the roads in Maryland and they have not been paying enough. Soon our roadways will be thought of in the same light as those of the price-gouging Delaware roadways.

Roads are part of city/state infrastructure, as is water, sewage, electric, etc. As such they are not the responsibility of only motorist, but everybody. Could you imagine a city/state without roads existing? Originally tolls were used to pay for special projects such as bridges or tunnels and after they were paid for, the toll stopped.

As an example, the Sumner tunnel in Massachusetts in the '70s was charging a toll of 75 cents when the MTA decided to raise it to $1. This was the straw that broke the camels' back and the people of Massachusetts revolted. The tunnel had been paid for 10 times over, so after the smoke settled the MTA lowered the toll to 40 cents to cover maintenance costs.

The Interstate system was copied from the German autobahns and instituted by President Eisenhower, and were to be toll free. They were to have a one mile straight stretch every five miles, which was also ignored. I never paid one Deutschmark in tolls while driving the autobahns of Germany.

Maryland motorists are hit with gas taxes and numerous fees from the DMV and yet our roads are poorly maintained and full of pot holes. Where has all this money gone? The first place I can think of is the millions poured into those useless electronic signs that have been around for 25 years and still don't work, or tell me to look out for motorcyclists when they do. You say the tolls should rise with inflation yet you don't count the fact that you are now collecting 10 times the amount you did thirty years ago due to the enormous increase of population and automobiles.

The bottom line here is that if the money collected from motorists, were spent on the roads rather than appropriated by other government agencies, we wouldn't need tolls except for special projects like the new ICC.

Dave Crosby, Catonsville

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