Perfect Stereotype of a Bad Liberal Idea

Clearing out some outdated rss feeds I see that Robert at Calitics thinks it’s a good idea to  set up a toll system on the state’s freeways. I don’t disagree with this in theory but he’s talking about charging $25-30 to drive certain legs of the state, including between Santa Maria and Goleta.

Look, I don’t borrow too heavily from the GOP playbook, but when a dude who can afford to go on a Honeymoon in a foreign country and rent a car for a pleasure drive in the process is sitting here saying that only far-right nutballs will have a problem with the state roughly doubling the cost of a drive that plenty of people around here have to make just to find jobs that pay double-digit hourly wages then I kind of have a problem with that. I don’t have a problem with a more reasonable fee, maybe $5 max – though I think even that would be pushing it in this area – but it’d either have to be combined with other sources of funding or it’d have to be in place for a long time at that level so that a decent amount of public transit could be achieved before anyone could even dream of getting away with going higher. I can’t think of a more perfect way to play into the GOP stereotype of inefficient, job-killing big-government liberals than to double people’s out-of-pocket expenses on things they don’t have a choice about while telling them oh, don’t worry, you’re helping fix the problem for everybody… ten years from now, if Sacramento doesn’t raid the funding first.

Looking at what he’s proposed it’d cost at least $50 in fees just to drive between here and the Bay Area. These fees are sufficiently high that if we were going to seriously think about implementing them anytime soon we’d need to offer subsidies for those with lower incomes, which would in turn require a method of identifying who gets the cheap/free passage through the toll gates and a method of enforcement to prevent people from gaming the system. While we’re at it we should just say fuck it and have people keep a copy of their W-2 with them so we can base the toll on their earnings because it’s not like you’re fucking fooling anyone that this is in lieu of raising taxes. The only difference is it’s a shitload more regressive and we don’t already have an apparatus in place to deal with the issue on a regular and semi-automatic basis statewide.

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