Toll Tax Inflation

This story is interesting. The toll on the Garden State Parkway increased by 50%, from $0.50 to $0.75.

Further increases are already planned, 50% every four years. That’s an annualized inflation rate of more than 10%!

The GSP toll used to be $0.25. I forget exactly when it was increased to $0.35, and couldn’t find a link, so I’ll assume it was $0.25 twenty-five years ago. That’s 200% inflation in 25 years, which corresponds to 4.5% annualized inflation. Notice that the rate of toll tax inflation is increasing. Also notice that is more than the CPI in the same time period.  According to this page, the CPI (GDP deflator) was 81.54 in 1985 and 111.0 in 2011, for an annualized CPI of 1.3%.

The toll on the Verrazano Bridge is now $13 roundtrip. It used to be $2. That’s an increase of 550% in 35 years, which corresponds to 5.5% annualized inflation.

The NYC subway fare was $1 in 1988. Right now, it is $2.10, including the 7% discount for MetroCard purchases. That is a 110% increase in 24 years, an annualized inflation rate of 3.1%.

The subway fare inflation is less than MTA bridge toll inflation. The MTA bridge tolls subsidize the subway fares. However, 110% over 24 years is still more than the CPI.

Even more disturbing, the rate of inflation is accelerating. Recent toll hikes are at a greater rate, such as the GSP’s “50% toll hike every four years” plan.

A pro-State troll says “Without the State, greedy monopolists would overcharge for roads.” That’s exactly what the State does now. Toll road taxes subsidize other parts of the State budget. It is always ironic when idiots say “Without the State, bad thing X would happen!”, when the State already does X or allows people to do X and get away with it.  For another example, a pro-State troll says “Without the State, greedy bankers would rob customers!”, which is exactly what Jon Corzine did.

When a toll road is built, State politicians say “The toll tax is temporary. It will be removed once the road is paid for.” Once a tax is in place, the State almost never removes it. That promise is always broken. After the cost of the road is paid, the surplus taxes are a profit center for the State.

Also, when the State pays for roads, there is always pork and waste. A lot of State road money goes to the insiders who get road building contracts.

It’s the “seen vs. unseen” fallacy. Right now, people see that only the State builds and repairs roads. That causes an idiot to believe that nobody would build or repair roads, if State violence didn’t force people to pay via taxes. Of course people would still build and repair roads, even without a State violence monopoly.

There are many possible solutions for handling roads in a really free market. One solution is to have a mini-government empowered to build roads but do nothing else. Without police power, the mini-government couldn’t abuse its power. Also, each street or neighborhood would have its own roadbuilding association, minimizing the size.  The NYC government doesn’t have any accountability to me for waste, but in a local road association of 1000 or fewer landowners, I could prevent abuses.

Main highways would be toll roads, exactly as is done now. Roads in commercial areas would probably be open to all, paid by the businesses. In residential areas, you may have to pass a checkpoint to get in. The “Libertarian nightmare” of a checkpoint on every corner would never happen, because that’s obviously silly.  There might be one every mile in residential areas. People could decide to have a gated community or have it open to all. Right now, gated communities are only available for the super-wealthy.

Also, roads aren’t that expensive. If there were no pork and waste, roads would cost 0.1% or less of a person’s income, making it not that important.  Pro-State trolls get super-exited about “WTF?  Without the State, nobody would build roads!”, but roads actually aren’t that expensive.

There are many ways to handle roads without a State monopoly. Most people can’t think past their pro-State brainwashing. It is ridiculous to believe that nobody would build or repair roads, if the State didn’t force people to pay.

A pro-State troll argues about the “free rider problem”, but there are ways to solve that without a State. A bigger problem is the “forced rider problem”, where slaves are forced to pay for State services, even if there’s a lot of waste and inefficiency.

That is an interesting observation. The rate of “toll tax inflation” is much greater than the CPI. That is more evidence that the CPI is one big lie.

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