Last fall, we drove from Miami down to Key West, Florida. When we picked up our rental car and asked for a map to get to Key West, the agent asked us if we wanted one that used toll roads or one that didn't. I asked her if it was a substantial fee. She said that it was under $10 but that some people are adamant that they will NEVER PAY A TOLL.
I'm not particularly bothered by tolls. My experience has generally been that the benefit (shorter route or better road) is worth the cost. Particularly when it is a time-bound toll implemented to pay for something specific.
The Coquihalla Highway between British Columbia and Alberta is a good example. It was a toll road from 1986 until 2008; it cost $848 million to build and the tolls raised $845 million. So after it was paid for, the toll booths were taken down and it became toll-free.
The 407 Highway in Ontario is a different kind of toll road. The 407 is a Public-Private partnership which is built, expanded and maintained by the private sector in order to provide a quasi-public service. It will always be a toll road. This kind of toll road seems to be a little more infuriating to people; is it because we think all our roads should be built and maintained by the public sector?
Regardless of whether they are fixed-term or permanent tolls, people have strong feelings about them. How about you? Weigh in on tolls in our monthly poll!
- Rose R.