Seth Hollar: Toll busiest roads

November 12, 2013 

As the transit conversation picks up in Wake County, it seems like one of the big, unspoken issues is that road capacity is a limited resource, but the resource is totally unmanaged. How come there isn’t any conversation surrounding tolls on roads that buses use to reduce the overall congestion and improve bus times?

Road tolls themselves would encourage a more efficient use of the roadway. Technology has advanced enough so that tolling can be seamless and automatic as it is on I-540. I understand that behaviorally people are not accustomed to tolls, but if we are thinking out of the box with a 30-year mindset, we will be forced to manage traffic one way or the other: either build more roads or manage the ones we have already.

We pay for roads through aggregate tax sources, and we use it like an all-you-can-eat buffet. It is a tragedy of the commons, but it doesn’t have to be. Let’s take on the goal of taxing vehicles for the roads they use based on the level of congestion.

Seth Hollar

Raleigh

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