Fighting against toll roads
Could the fight against toll roads be a new issue that brings rural voters to the progressive side?
For many years, rural folks believed that it was the Republican Party that was the voice of "leave us alone" politics -- giving people the freedom to ranch and farm. Many rural folks thought Democrats were using environmentalism as a weapon against their culture.
But now, there are Republicans around the country (from Indiana to Texas to Oregon) who are creating toll roads. And not in the classic New Jersey model, but using eminent domain to seize land and turn over existing roads to foreign corporations. Those companies provide a big lump sum payment at the front end (great for a one-time tax cut) and then charge drivers for years.
Here's the thing: Many rural voters see these toll roads - especially the seizure of rural land - as a assault on rural communities. The documentary Truth Be Tolled, about the Texas toll road plan, is the most graphic depiction. From the film's synopsis:
From mayors of small cities, political candidates and grass roots groups to working-class Texans, all unite to state their loud opposition. The strongest voices rise from small rural communities whose farms, homes, schools, businesses and churches face the largest forcible eminent domain acquisition in U.S. history.
The Trans-Texas Corridor, a giant scar through the center of the state, will not only rip the heart out of Texas-- it will kill a way of life that has been in the state forever.
Here's the trailer for the documentary. Pretty gripping stuff. Hit Play:
Your Personal Note:
Toll road agencies can become self-perpetuating bodies without much public accountability. Also the time and gas spent waiting at toll booths is pure waste.
Posted by: Leo Brown | Oct 11, 2006 6:52:31 PM
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(and yes, we know that sometimes they're very, very wrong. Other times, they're right on.)