02/01/2019 at 7:33 pm #176729583
Apparently, Lexus lane proponents do not understand that public land — whether used for schools; roads; parks; libraries; hospitals; forests; or police & fire stations — belongs to all Americans and is meant to benefit all of us, regardless of our wealth or income.
I have a question for anyone who supports using our existing, publicly owned rights-of-way to create exclusive HOT/LEXUS lanes for the well-heeled:
How does that differ from declaring that the solution to overcrowding at our public schools — which are also on public property — is not to stop building more ugly, sprawling, residential housing developments, but rather, the “solution” is to build shiny new schools, on the existing public school property — and then charge a hefty tuition (‘toll’), on top of our property taxes which we’ve paid for decades?
I gets even better. Part of this scheme is that, by design, not all kids can attend the new, less crowded, more secure schools. Seats are limited on purpose. Their parents are forced to choose between:
a) Continuing to send their children to overcrowded, understaffed, less safe schools with substandard equipment (so they can, you know, pay their bills), or
b) Paying an additional fee/tuition (toll), if they can afford it — and by design, most will not be able to — so their kids can go the new high-tech school with no more than 18-20 students per teacher, a teacher’s aide in every class, new computers, the latest security systems, a first-rate gym, etc.
Oh, and the tuition varies based on demand. Naturally, all parents want the best for their children, but there are only so many seats in the new schools (intentionally), so by definition only the (say) 15% who can afford to pay the most will be able to get their kids transferred out of the old, crowded, less secure schools.
Even if everyone could afford to pay a reasonable tuition it would not matter, because the tuition is not based on the actual cost of construction, operation, and maintenance. No, instead, it is artificially set so that no more than 15% of families can afford it. We’re told it *must* be that way — otherwise the new schools would be overrun with students, and that would defeat the whole purpose of building the schools.
And the extra tuition money, over and above what the schools actually cost to build and operate? That goes to some corporation, often overseas. The CEO needs a private jet and a fat “golden parachute”.
As for the rest of the kids — the “riff-raff” whose parents could not (or would not) pay the exorbitant tuition? Most of them will not be prepared for college. Many will never get a degree, will end up earning close to minimum wage, and barely surviving. They can’t complain though, because after all, their parents could have paid the tuition — well, theoretically…
Toll proponents — how is that public school scenario different from constructing Lexus lanes on existing public rights-of-way?
Hint: It isn’t, they are essentially the same. The land used in both cases is public property. In both cases, if improvements are to be made, they should be paid for the way they always have been — with property taxes (schools) or motor fuel taxes (roads) — for everyone’s benefit.
It is immoral and un-American to confiscate public land — our land, owned by all Americans — and use it to build expensive toll lanes (or classrooms/schools; hospitals, etc) that only the rich can routinely afford to use.
Those that support this sort of scam will claim that “anyone can use those lanes”. Technically that’s true — just as “anyone can stay at the Ritz-Carlton”, maybe once.
The question is, who can truly afford to use them day after day? The answer is, only those with the most disposable income. By design, the capacity of HOT/Lexus lanes is limited, to keep speeds up above a set minimum. Needless to say, everyone would rather avoid sitting in traffic breathing exhaust fumes, so the demand for the Lexus lane(s) far exceeds its capacity. That means the owner/operator (often a foreign corporation) can charge astronomical rates — as high as $4.60 *per mile* on 10 miles of I-66 west of D.C. That’s up to $46, one-way, $92 per day! That will certainly keep most of us “commoners” off the Interstate — a road we paid to build.
Let’s get real. These Lexus Lanes are built with one thing in mind — providing a way for the wealthy and well-off to buy their way out of traffic. A way for them to have their own (semi) private highway to commute to work, while the rest of us sit in traffic.
If a corporation wants to build a road from the ground-up (purchase the right-of-way; pay for design, permitting, environmental studies, surveying, materials, construction, etc) then great — they can charge whatever the market will bear.
Existing highways are OUR roads. They belong to all Americans. The idea of using public rights-of-way to build Lexus lanes is legalized theft, pure and simple. It is wrong on many levels, and should be rejected with prejudice.
We cannot allow public rights-of-way to be stolen from us to be used exclusively (or primarily) for the benefit of the well-off.
Just say NO to Lexus/HOT lanes.
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