Skip to main content

I-73 Toll Bill Passes ... is it a tax?

Last week, the SC Senate came to a resolution on the I-73 Toll Bill, and passed the measure. Gov. Mark Sanford is expected to sign it. The I-95 admendment was dropped, so the bill only opens up the toll possibility for Interstate 73. Supporters of the bill see this as a big statement showing the US Congress that South Carolina is serious about looking for ways to fund the construction of the $2 billion project.

Does this mean I-73 will have Toll Booths? - No, it does not. The bill only allows tolling as a possible - not definite - funding source. The bill does not form a Toll Authority, it does not give any bond amount, it does not state any locations for toll booths, and it does not legislate any toll amount.

Opponents to the toll bill point out that the toll is the same as a tax. Andy Brack, who publishes the S.C. State House Report has editorialized about the passed bill, here. He points his viewpoint out most clearly here:
But remember it's a toll, which is just a glorified way of saying "special tax." (Note to political consultants: All of the Republicans and Democrats who voted for the toll proposal actually voted to increase taxes -- despite a "no new taxes" pledge that a majority of them signed.)
He points to other alternatives like the State Infrastructure Bank, which has helped to fund the construction of the Carolina Bays Parkway and other projects throughout the state.

What does this all mean?

Nothing much actually. Yes, the bill does open the way to a possible funding source. One that supporters hope will lead the way to more funding from the Federal Government. But I'm certain that pipeline isn't threatening to run dry.

Opponents will become more vocal if tolls become the overall means to pay for the highway. Battles over the amount of tolls, local communities wanting a discount on the toll, experiation of the tolls, possible creation of a toll authority, and who will be responsibile for the care and upkeep of the Interstate will surely follow.

The one thing the bill does accomplish is keeping the highway in the press while final design is being done on the south segment of the highway, and studies begin on the north segment.

There's still a long way to go before tolls are actually decided for I-73.

Poll:

I have created a poll in the Southeast Roads Yahoo Group on the question: "Is a tolled highway the same as a tax?" It closes February 15.

Comments

Froggie said…
That Andy Brack is contradicting himself. He calls tolls "a tax" and rails against them, yet in another one of his articles from that article link, he supports raising the state's cigarette tax. Isn't that a tax too?
Anonymous said…
I hope that this site has brought you what you want Adam & that the effort you have gone to brings you what you truly deserve.
Anonymous said…
Taxes are imposed on the population as a whole. An IH 73 toll would a charge those who use the road, exclusively. Calling that a "tax" is absolute rubbish. Just more political abuse of the language. That sort of thing makes me want to go upside ppl's heads with a cricket bat.

Popular posts from this blog

History of the Big Oak Flat Road (Yosemite National Park)

This week I hiked much of what was the original alignment of the Big Oak Flat Road which is located to the north of the modern roadway.  Unlike the original alignment of the Wawona Road the Old Big Oak Flat Road is surprisingly intact.


The complete history of the Big Oak Flat Road including the original alignment can be found on a 2002 report from the U.S. Department of Interior on the Old Big Oak Flat Road.

U.S. Department of the Interior on the Old Big Oak Flat Road

The Big Oak Flat Road began construction east from the mining community of Big Oak Flat in towards Yosemite Valley in 1869.  The Big Oak Flat Road was constructed by the Chinese Camp and Yosemite Turnpike Company which had secured the franchise rights for a toll road to the Yosemite Grant (the designation prior to Yosemite National Park).  By the summer of 1871 the Big Oak Flat Road reached the northern cliffs above Yosemite Valley which is when the Chinese Camp and Yosemite Turnpike Company ran out of funding.  After the…

The Tioga Pass Road

Last Summer the Tioga Pass Road over the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Yosemite National Park opened late due to the heavy snow pack from the previous winter.  Approaching the start of July the Park Service finally had cleared the road to Tioga Pass.  That being the case I headed up shortly after the 4th of July holiday during a lull in the tourist season.


The Tioga Pass Road runs from the Big Oak Flat Road at Crane Flat east to US Route 395 ("US 395").  The Tioga Pass Road is largely within the boundary of Yosemite National Park but is maintained by Caltrans as California State Route 120 ("CA 120") east of the Tioga Pass entry station to US 395.  The National Park Service maintained portion of the Tioga Pass Road serve as a implied connection between the two segments of CA 120.  The Tioga Pass Road is the highway mountain pass in California reaching Tioga Pass at 9,945 feet above sea level.



Part 1; the history of the Tioga Pass Road

Tioga Pass first obtained notewort…

Horseshoe Meadows Road; former California State Route 190 and the legacy of the Lone Pine-Porterville HIgh Sierra Road

This summer I had an opportunity to drive one of the lesser known great roads of California; Horseshoe Meadows Road from Whitney Portal Road westward into Horseshoe Meadows of the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains.  Aside from being massive climb into the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains the path of Horseshoe Meadows Road was once part of California State Route 190 and was intended to be part of a Trans-Sierra Highway known as the Lone Pine-Porterville High Sierra Road.


Horseshoe Meadows Road is located west of Lone Pine of Inyo County and is 19.7 miles in length.  Horseshoe Meadows Road begins at an approximate elevation of 4,500 feet above sea level at Whitney Portal Road in the Alabama Hills and ends at an elevation of 10,072 feet above sea level in Horseshoe Meadows.  Horseshoe Meadows Road is the second highest paved road in California only behind Rock Creek Road near Tom's Place.  Pjammcycling rates Horseshoe Meadows Road with an average gradient of 6.2% and lists it as th…