Scoot Blog: No tolls? It?s taking money from the government!
For the first time in a very long time there are NO TOLLS for motorists crossing the Mississippi River in New Orleans! Yesterday, a judge threw out the results of the recent election to continue the tolls on the Crescent City Connection because of voting issues on Election Day.
The campaign to keep the tolls on the CCC was based on the need for the $22 million collected annually to maintain and protect the bridge. The group stopthetolls.org campaigned on the premise that it is the fiscal responsibility of the state of Louisiana to provide funding to maintain and protect the bridge – not the motorists traveling the bridge daily.
This is a classic example of a big problem we have in America. Citizens are paying for jobs and agencies that, arguably, could and should be eliminated. Eliminating government agencies would give more money to the citizens, but would lead to layoffs.
No one should be surprised that both sides of this issue launched very aggressive campaigns. Those opposing the tolls were essentially promoting less government and less financial burden on taxpayers. The side supporting the continuation of the tolls argued that the state needs the money to maintain the organization that oversees the CCC.
Simply put – the vote on the tolls on the bridge was a vote about whether to continue to give the government money to maintain a government agency. Which would be easier:
a) Reaching in a removing a raw chicken from the jaws of a gator?
b) Taking all make-up away from Lady Gaga?
c) Stop citizen funding of a government agency?
Correct answer: (c)
Once you start feeding government, it is nearly impossible to stop the process. So, no one should be surprised that the losing side will go down ‘kicking and screaming’! And if the new election on whether to continue the tolls on the CCC on May 4 ends with a vote to remove the tolls, be prepared for the ‘gloom and doom’ predictions of what will happen to the bridge from supporters of the tolls.
At this crucial juncture in America when there is a controversial battle over spending cuts and raising taxes, the issue of tolls on the CCC is typical of this country’s collective dilemma. It seems that it’s time for the government to learn to do with less - even if that lesson is forced on government.
A couple of hours after the judge’s ruling, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development removed tolls from the bridge “until further notice.” I wonder how long the instinct to pull out a dollar will remain as a motorist approaches the toll plaza?
And with the ever-increasing residential developments in New Orleans, if the tolls are gone forever, how long will it be before a developer wants to renovate the toll booths into condos?