Against Toll Roads

RECEIVED Mon., June 21, 2004

Dear Austin,
    Imagine the day when you finally pay off the 30-year mortgage on your house, and it is yours, free and clear, except for property taxes. (I guess that means that joint ownership of your house now involves only two parties – you and the county – instead of three – you, the county, and the bank – but I digress.)
    Imagine that the county then informs you that the doors to your house have been replaced, on the county's authority, by coin-operated doors belonging to Acme Vending and Septic. The decision as to how much it will cost you to enter and exit your home (one family member at a time) is not fixed, but subject to increase at Acme's discretion. Would you stand for this?
    Will you stand for the privatization and tolling (sometimes in three-mile stretches) of already-paid-for Austin roads? Don't forget, incidentally, what time consuming bottlenecks the toll plazas will be.
    There are places in Austin where we can spend five minutes per mile (remember, driving a mile at 30 mph takes two minutes) at red lights, and the city blames us for the pollution. If this tolling plan goes into effect, the city will blame us for the snarl-ups.
Duane Keith
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