Both new bridges will be open for business soon and, of course, we’ll be paying tolls to use them.
In the 1950s, President Eisenhower built our massive coast-to-coast interstate system and he did it by taxing a portion of every gallon of fuel sold – not tolling. Today, the richest nation on earth doesn’t have enough money to properly maintain our infrastructure, let alone build new bridges from these fuel taxes. So what happened?
The combination of better fuel efficiency and lower fuel cost means fewer tax dollars are being generated on a per-gallon basis. You could argue that the tax on fuel should be increased to assure the upkeep of our infrastructure, since it’s paid only by those who use the roads. A toll is also a fair tax because it’s only being paid by people who use the bridges, but -- tolls have an ironic unintended consequence.
The bridges between two states, designed to bring people together, are actually going to become barriers as more people choose to stay on their side of the river whenever possible rather than pay a toll. It will be a barrier between customers and business, and workers and their employers. Because of this barrier, I would have preferred an increase in fuel taxes of a dime or so per gallon in Indiana and Kentucky rather than a toll, but call and tell us what you think.
I’m Bill Lamb, and that’s my Point of View.