People have been reading my blog since it’s inception will probably recognize this post. It’s about turnpikes, and why I think they should eliminate the Pennsylvania Turnpike, and more importantly the PA Turnpike Commission. The reason I am posting it again is because the PA turnpike commission is passing a toll increase on the turnpike from 4.1 cents a mile to 5.9 cents a mile, rounded up to the closest .25 cents. It is an old road, and past its time. It’s like a rotary phone you pay for every month on your phone bill. It’s a throwback to a different time. A time that should be forgotten.
Here’s what I had to say 4 months ago:
I’ve about had it with the Pennsylvania Turnpike. More importantly, I hate the PA Turnpike Commission. In case you don’t know, the turnpike is a toll road. You pay 4.1 cents per mile to drive on it. This throwback to the early days of interstate travel is past it’s prime. The toll booths should be bulldozed, and the civil servant hacks at the commission should be sent to hold signs at PennDot.
Right now the Turnpike Commission is seeking to raise its per mile rate to compensate for rebuilding the aging road first opened over 60 years ago. The last toll increase was in 1991. But what do we get for these tolls?
The answer is, nothing spectacular. In its prime it was a marvel. A feat of engineering. It’s just an old highway now. The road is bumpy and crumbling. If you stop at the travel plazas scattered along the state-wide 4-laner, you will pay ridiculous prices for gasoline, and eat mediocre overpriced food. As I speak, the current rate for gasoline on the turnpike is about 15 cents a gallon more than that off the turnpike. A Burger King value meal is about $1.50 more on the turnpike than off.
The big wigs at the commission say the high food and gas prices is to compensate for increased costs of being open 24 hours. Well, many gas stations are open 24 hours, and they don’t overcharge. Most restaurants located in the Turnpike travel plazas aren’t even open 24 hours, so they have no excuse. It’s just plain exploitation of a captive audience. They gotcha captive, and they may as well squeeze some more money from you.
In this day and age most of our highways are paid for with gasoline taxes and fees on auto registration and so forth. So why does this pay-as-you-go road still exist? Why are we paying twice, once with taxes and once with tolls, to support a road, where other superior roads are “free”?
I am further disgusted becuase our
beloved hated governor Edward G. Rendell supports this toll increase. This comes after an income tax increase, cigarette tax increase, and newly mandated emissions inspections which alone will cost $45 a year. All of these, and more, took effect January 1st.
For people who never drive the turnpike, this is a moot point. For a frequent turnpike traveler it’s terrible. For many small businesses who rely on this road, this could be a killer. Between the numerous tax and fee increases, this toll increase could cause businesses to leave Pennsylvania.
All in all, the Pennsylvania Turnpike, and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission are throwbacks to a time when there were no highways, it was a grand experiement that was brilliant at the time. But now the petri dish needs washed out as the experiment has turned into some kind of funky furry mess that costs too much to feed, and keeps wanting more and more.