Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Toll Roads Coming?

This morning on my way to work, I listened to a discussion about the possibility of toll roads coming to Wisconsin. I'm not a fan of toll roads in general, in part due to their monetary inconvenience, and in part because the whole reason I'm on an expressway is to avoid unnecessary stops. My wife and I have had the pleasure of driving through nearly every state in the lower 48. I can tell you from experience that toll roads are no better (and are sometimes worse) than a plain-old interstate highway system.

The frustrating thing about this morning's conversation? Both guests were of the general opinion that we need toll roads now. It was upsetting that no one was there to argue the case for an option that has long been the status quo for many states all over the country. The only difference was that the right-wing guest didn't want elected officials setting the toll prices. That's right - no "Government Politician"ought to be controlling your tolls! In other words, let's make our roads private from now on, and let the "free market" decide how much you get to use the interstate.

It's been a long-running joke that Tea Party advocates complain about socialism while driving on socialized highways and protesting in public parks. Apparently this is the new solution - take even more property away from the public, and put it in private hands. I wonder how much money I would need in order to buy an interstate highway in Wisconsin and charge a toll for it. It sounds like it's going to be pretty cheap for someone in the near future.

In return, users of the road will get a longer commute, an extra chunk removed from their wallets on a per-use basis, the same old tax bill they always had at tax time, and, just my hunch, probably a poorly managed road with more potholes than we started with. Why fix a pothole if you're only accountable to the random poor shlubs driving to work every day? At least now, in theory, the taxpayers have a say, and there are engineers working on behalf of the state DOT to resolve issues. What the right appeared to espouse this morning was a completely private, unaccountable highway system.

Thankfully(?) the right wing commentator spent most of his time arguing against teacher pensions anyway. I'm not sure he got a lot of points across. But at this point, I'm not sure it matters all that much. UNLESS...

....Unless we can recall Scott Walker. That's right! Rumblings are all over the place inside the meeting rooms and on conference calls between recall groups. The recall is coming, folks. Right now we're just talking about timing, funding, and coordination. We did it this spring and we're going to do it again! I'm excited to see what happens. It's going to be a great 60 days. We're going to see our friends organized like they've never been before. Hundreds of thousands of signatures will not be an easy task. We're going to do it, ladies and gents. Scott Walker will be on the bread lines next to the rest of us in a few short months. Wisconsin will be ours!