Fast lanes?

December 3, 2012 

When it comes to separating the motorist from his money, some folks never sleep. The latest trial balloon is for “toll express lanes.” You take a regular (free) interstate highway and, in the course of widening it, build in a lane that’s strictly for paying customers – drivers who want to speed past the morning and evening gridlocks. You collect the tolls the same newfangled way the Triangle Expressway does, with in-car transponders for the regulars and, for everyone else, via cameras that identify license plates and computers that mail out bills.

All this in the interest of “reliable” commute times.

Aside from the steady, annoying creep of surveillance cameras into Americans’ daily lives, this proposal – so far it’s only that – heads us in the wrong direction, toward the notion that drivers with enough dough can and should be able to buy their way out of traffic jams. Instead, it would be better if everyone were in the same boat, so to speak, interested in solutions that clear the road for all.

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