This past Tuesday, the latest in a series of meetings was held to allow the public to provide input regarding tolls on the new Ohio River bridges.
Good. Getting public buy-in on a project of this magnitude will be essential to its lasting success.
What bothers me however, is one of the stated goals of the project. Specifically, the one pledging to "mitigate the effects of tolling on low-income and minority populations."
Now, the needs of low-income residents should certainly be taken into account in setting toll rates. But why should "minorities" also be specified as a separately-considered group?
Granted, minority citizens are disproportionately represented within the "low-income" category. But it's hardly true that all African-American, Hispanic or other minority group members in this area are financially disadvantaged. Why should those who are well-off qualify for special consideration on tolls?
If the Tolling Authority wants to ensure that low-income people aren't subjected to unreasonable obstacles to cross-river travel, more power to them. But if they're considering some sort of reduced toll rate granted to people purely on the basis of race, I believe they're way off base.
Using the word "minority" as a synonym for "poor" is incorrect and only drives us farther apart. It's demeaning to the many people who have refused to allow their skin color to define them and it needs to stop.
I'm Bill Lamb and that's my Point of View.
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