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Tolls Illegal On Interstates?  
User currently offlineUSAFHummer From United States of America, joined May 2000, 10685 posts, RR: 51
Posted (11 years 3 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 3253 times:


Someone just told me recently that it is illegal for interstates to be toll roads...however, I had never heard this before and it struck me as odd because I can think of numerous interstates off the top of my head that have tolls, and have had them for many years...

Can someone either confirm or debunk this with a source(a quick google search didn't turn up anything)?


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16 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineXJRaMPer From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2505 posts, RR: 46
Reply 1, posted (11 years 3 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 3241 times:

Not quite sure where this person received this information, but they are truly mis-informed. There is no evidence to support that. I do not have a link...but i can assure you that this person is very well mistaken. Hope this helps  Big grin


Look ma' no hands!
User currently offlineDLKAPA From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (11 years 3 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 3226 times:

Ever heard of the Kansas Turnpike system? I-35, I-70, I-470...

It might be illegal for LOCAL governments to put tolls on the interstates running through their towns, but certainly not illegal for states to impose such tolls.

User currently offlineAGC525 From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 989 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (11 years 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 3196 times:

I-76 is the Pa turnpike, and in western Pa is the same as I-70.

American Aviation: From Kitty Hawk to the Moon in 66 years!
User currently offlinePHLBOS From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 7628 posts, RR: 21
Reply 4, posted (11 years 3 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 3182 times:

I believe that at the time the Interstate highway act was signed into law in 1956; the no new tolls rule may have applied to highways not already constructed or planned. Not 100% positive on this. Many toll roads built in the 1960s (most of them carried an Interstate number) were on the planning books before the Interstate act became law.

Many of the toll roads, particularly in the East Coast, predated the Interstate highway system. One original provision for allowing these tolls roads to be designated interstates was that once the original bond to build the toll road was paid off; the highway would become a freeway. Unfortunately, that rarely happened. The toll roads would up becoming cash cows for the politicians, patronage jobs, and bureaucrats.

And before somebody jumps down my throat stating that the tolls are needed for maintenance and repairs; keep in mind that two of the deadliest bridge collapses in the 1980s both occurred on tolls roads: The Mianus River bridge collapse along the Connecticut Turnpike (I-95) in 1983 (the toll booths weren't removed until 1985), and a New York Thruway (I-90) overpass collapse in early 1987.

"TransEastern! You'll feel like you've never left the ground because we treat you like dirt!" SNL Parady ad circa 1981
User currently offlineKROC From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (11 years 3 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 3165 times:

Here is a link to a page that should answer your questions...or leave you even more confused...  Big grin


User currently offlineNewark777 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 9348 posts, RR: 27
Reply 6, posted (11 years 3 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 3161 times:

Travel through NJ on the turnpike or parkway, and that should answer your question.  Big grin


Why grab a Heine when you can grab a Busch?
User currently offlineSTT757 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 17449 posts, RR: 49
Reply 7, posted (11 years 3 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 3153 times:

"Travel through NJ on the turnpike or parkway, and that should answer your question."

Don't forget the Atlantic City expressway which is also a toll road.

Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
User currently offlineNewark777 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 9348 posts, RR: 27
Reply 8, posted (11 years 3 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 3150 times:

Oh yeah, forgot about that one. I guess I just don't travel on it that much.


Why grab a Heine when you can grab a Busch?
User currently offlineDesertJets From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 7880 posts, RR: 14
Reply 9, posted (11 years 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 3139 times:

So from the link that KROC sent, all sections of the interstate system that have tolls existed prior to the creation of the interstate system and were allowed to continue to collect tolls.

What is true is that no new section of interstate highway can be constructed as a toll road. Which is becoming a problem for some states as they are facing major expansion and upgrade projects on interstates running through their state, I-81 in Virginia is a good example.

Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 65
Reply 10, posted (11 years 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 3130 times:

Newark777 I have traveled most of the major roads of New Jersey and I have no idea what you are talking about.

Are you saying that the turnpike is better maintained than the free road?

If that is the case, I'd point out that the free freeways of the west coast are better still. And might it not be an argument that the state of New Jersey is remiss in its maintenance of the public roads.

Toll roads are one of my models for why democracy will collapse.

People LOVE government!
Build a house in the country and eventually a majority will vote to incorporate.
Have a house in a subdivision and eventually the majority will vote to form a homeowner's association that will charge you money and impose rules but will not actually add anything to your life.

These things are increasingly true in the far west, but the people of the eastern time zone have won their battle - they LOVE Big Brother. Some of you, voluntarily, live under six or seven levels of government and each one of them taxes you.

So toll booths are here to stay. Politicians love them. They are a tax that no one had do sully his reputation by voting "yes" on. A fair amount of the revenues come from out of state, so it is truly taxation without representation. (Which is NOT illegal in the US, in case you thought it was. It is merely un-American, whatever that means)

No, folks, toll roads are here to stay. Despite the fact that on a bad day and a shortish commute, they double your gas consumption and thereby double the pollution. A car idling in line at the tollbooth, going nowhere is still polluting, it is just not doing anything productive.

I recently drove from Pennsylvania to the eastern tip of Maine to the most distant point in California. The total tolls I paid totaled $28.25 ALL east of Chicago. The only reason it was not twice that is because I avoided major highways while eastbound and did not take the PA Turnpike.

The worst is Orlando Florida. I took my granddaughter to DisneyWorld last year and every highway around Orlando is a toll road. Going back to the airport you get right off the end of the runway, you can see the terminal building and you have to stop and pay another fifty cents to get there.

Well, Orlando, you got your pound of flesh. Once! I have lots more grandchildren and I am taking them to DisneyLand in California. I will never give the city of Orlando another penny. DisneyWorld, sorry 'bout that.

Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineNewark777 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 9348 posts, RR: 27
Reply 11, posted (11 years 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 3124 times:

Are you saying that the turnpike is better maintained than the free road?

lol, no, far from it. I was just saying we have toll roads here.  Smile

Anyone who knows NJ politics knows that tolls are a big issue, and there is always the empty promise of removing the tolls by each successive gubernatorial candidate. The tolls have just been another way to siphon more money into our wasteful state government. There was even a column in the Star-Ledger recently, where they estimated it cost somewhere in the range of $0.28 to collect one $0.32 toll (on the parkway that is).


Why grab a Heine when you can grab a Busch?
User currently offlineJetstar From United States of America, joined May 2003, 1737 posts, RR: 10
Reply 12, posted (11 years 3 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 3074 times:
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Here in Connecticut, I-95, also known as the Connecticut Turnpike used to be a toll road. It was built in the late 1950’s and financed by a bond issue like all toll roads and the revenue from the toll booths was used to pay off the bonds and supposed to pay for the upkeep of the road.

As stated by PHLBOS the Mianus bridge collapse in 1983 woke up everyone about the deficiencies in the system. I live 5 miles from the Mianus bridge and was affected by the chaos that incurred when the roadway was closed down.

The politicians were diverting the funds from the highway into other road projects and underfunded the maintenance budget. The state DOT had only 2 trucks for the entire state that were capable of lowering inspectors over the side of a roadway to inspect the underneath sections of bridges. Because of this the road inspectors had to use binoculars from the ground for their inspections.

After the collapse the Federal Government determined the cause was the hangers supporting each section of the bridge were so severely rusted because of lack of maintenance and that the rust pushed the hangers out of their support pins. Also there was a major design fault. Each section of the bridge was held in place by 4 large hangers, and if one of them were to fail, the other three could not by design support the structure. Break one leg of a chair and see what will happen, it will fall over.

After the collapse and 2 fatal accidents involving trucks ramming cars at the toll booths the state decided to pay off the remaining balance due on the bonds and removed the tolls. The state applied to the US to include the Connecticut Turnpike in the Interstate Highway System and now federal funds are being used to rebuild the highway.

Even today, 23 years after the collapse reconstruction is still ongoing. The entire Mianus River bridge was eventually replaced with a newer fail safe design and all other bridges and overpasses are or have been replaced and jersey crash proof barriers and breakdown lanes added.

It only took the lives of about 10 people to get the state to finally do something.

User currently offlineDeltaffindfw From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 1487 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (11 years 3 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 3057 times:

I agree that in some cities, the tollways use more gas consumption, but here in Dallas, the President George Bush Turnpike and Dallas North Tollway have many, many Tolltag users that speed through the toll areas - speed limit is 50 MPH at the booth - not like other cities where you must slow down to 30 MPH. Also, the tollway is not as congested as free roads, so it keeps you from gridlock.

Also, in Houston, they have a new tollway that is Tolltag only - so no one is waiting in line to pay with cash. I personally like the Tollways here. If you are willing to pay the money, you can get there quicker. If you don't want to pay, you can use the free roads. It's not like Chicago or the east where you have no choice but to pay!

User currently offlineMikey711MN From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 1425 posts, RR: 8
Reply 14, posted (11 years 2 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 3024 times:

A significant caveat is offered in KROC's submitted article, which states that "Federal law has become far more flexible about the use of Federal-aid funds for new toll facilities and even existing toll-free roads." An example of this is a recent conversion of the decade-old HOV lanes on I-394 between downtown Minneapolis and the Western Suburbs to HOT (High Occupancy Toll) lanes whereby single drivers may use the lanes and pay a capacity-controlled fee (ranging from $1 to $8 depending on conditions and distance travelled). A full-fledged conversion of a freeway to tollway? No. But an example of the loosening of this previously established legislation to create toll collecting facilities on what currently exist as free access.

As a surreal sidebar, only after the HOV-to-HOT conversion was approved and set in motion did the viability study show that the installation and maintenance of the system would still not pay for itself, much less acrue additional revenues to pay down ongoing maintenance to the route.


I plan on living forever. So far, so good...
User currently offlineSQA340 From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 702 posts, RR: 4
Reply 15, posted (11 years 2 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 2982 times:

"It's not like Chicago or the east where you have no choice but to pay!"

Yeah, Illinois has some strange aversion to ticket based toll systems, so everything is either "manual" (toll both atendants), "automatic" (change buckets) or there are dedicated Ipass lanes where you can pass through doing 30 MPH. Most of the lanes are either manual or automatic and I guess you can use the Ipass in those lanes too. But the toll system in Chicago is designed in such a way that if your destination are points north and west, you cant get out of the metro area without paying unless you take surface arterias. The oases are pretty unique there though, I still remember the old ones. Most of the Indiana tollway here is ticket based until you get to the Chicago area where it becomes more coin based.

The toll system in Texas does sound nicer then how it is out here and the orange county toll roads in california are desinged in a similar way, although they dont really serve that much of a purpose, except to direct traffic to the foothill communities and to CA 91.

User currently offlineN801NW From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 744 posts, RR: 1
Reply 16, posted (11 years 2 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 2980 times:

I can say that in winter the Maine Turnpike (I-95) is better maintained than I-295. The DOT has to spread their resources over a much greater area while the Turnpike Authority concentrates on their road.

During an early 1990's budget crisis the state bought part of the Turnpike near the NH border from the T.A., it was some sort of way to exploit federal highway fiunding rules.

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