2013-01-22: There's a disconnect between public officials and the public over tolls. Poll after poll after public opinion poll shows tolls are the most politically acceptable way of paying for major road improvements. Yet politicians, reporters, and lobbyists hardly even consider it. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell even managed in his recent proposal for road financing with a 16% hike in the state sales tax not to mention tolls once.
With state contractors using heavy concrete breakers, cranes, loaders and dump trucks at the Ambassador Bridge to demolish recent concrete work and cart away the rubble of high approach ramps for a parallel span, the Detroit International Bridge Company (DIBC) battles on, using the courts and public opinion.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and bridge cheerleaders in the local press often report that opposition to a new government sponsored toll bridge between Detroit and Windsor Canada lies with a diehard minority of state legislators 'bought' by their local villain Manuel 'Matty' Moroun, 84-year old head of the family that owns the rival Ambassador Bridge.
US secretary of transportation Ray LaHood (Dem) and US House of Representatives transport committee chair John Mica (Repub) are both out of touch with public opinion in their hostility to use of tolls to rebuild interstates and relieve congestion - according to surveys by the big Kansas City based engineering firm HNTB.
Tolls, usage fees, congestion pricing preferred means of financing roads in Kansas City metro area KSBy Peter Samuel on July 21, 2009
An opinion survey in the Kansas section of Kansas City shows toll financing along with road use fees and congestion pricing are the preferred means of funding transport improvements.
Proving the adage that all politics is local a new opinion poll in Massachusetts suggests greater public support for hiking the gasoline tax than tolls.
An opinion poll suggests about 58% opposition versus 17% support - with 25% no opinion - for the idea of having private operators run new toll lanes they'd built on the New Jersey Turnpike. The question was framed in terms of the private lanes being higher priced than the existing lanes.
This in a Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey poll the results of which were published in the Asbury Park Press newspaper.
A new poll shows opposition among Pennsylvania voters to tolling I-80 is 62% to 28% in favor. This is a considerably greater margin of opposition than to privatizing the Turnpike with a longterm lease/concession (50/37).
When asked if they had to choose between tolling I-80 and leasing the Turnpike to a private company 41% choose the private lease concession, while 36% prefer tolls on I-80 to privatization.