Everyone seems to agree tolls will need to be imposed upon drivers using the new Ohio River bridges in order to have any chance of paying for them.
But as the bridges get closer to completion, we still don't have a clear plan for exactly how these tolls will be collected.
The idea of tolls in general bothers me, because I don't believe individual states should be responsible for a project of this sort in the first place. Since these new bridges will be critical new parts of the national infrastructure, our federal taxes should be paying for them. However, since there's nothing left once our lawmakers fund their endless entitlement programs, that's unlikely to happen.
But as long as we're stuck with tolling, we should at least make it enforceable for everyone. And since people who are just passing through from other parts of the country would have little incentive to pay a bill from a state hundreds of miles away from where they live, we need to set up a system that would require motorists who don't have a special “frequent flier” transponder to actually stop and pay as they go through a separate booth.
I understand that not having any such booths might speed things up a little. But a small slowdown will be worth it if it ensures that everyone pays their fair share.