Tuesday, August 26, 2008
PA Turnpike - Highway Robbery
I have happy memories of riding in the back seat of my parents' car driving from New Jersey to Michigan to visit relatives each summer. Even at 4 years old, I remember how amazing it was to travel on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and drive through those tunnels that, from a 4 year old's perspective, seemed endless. I remember the (what's now considered retro) look of the toll plazas, as it was the 1950's futuristic.
Now, this national treasure is about to be put on the auction block. Inconceivable? Desperate to raise state revenue, PA is in the final stages of trying to auction off the licensing rights (read: revenue) to the highest bidder.
If this goes through, other major U.S. highways, that we paid for with our tax dollars, will be auctioned off similarly. That in turn could jump-start projects in waiting, from Florida's Alligator Alley to Chicago's Midway Airport.
You can only imagine how the toll prices will increase when the profiteer needs to recoup their investment. The new operators can raise tolls 25% in 2009, then keep them in line with inflation every year, according to the Wall Street Journal, 8/26/08. You can read more here.
Please join me in telling your State Representatives to flush this idea.
And once you've done that, click on this link to read an amazing history of the PA Turnpike that dates back to the late 1800's as a failed railroad project.
Finally, here's a link to a collector of PA Turnpike postcards that may bring you back to when you were 4 years old, and in awe of the majesty of this road.