Your Money is No Good on PPP Toll Roads

This is an interesting one.  On the new public private partnership tollroads popping up throughout the nation as a result of states seeing new sources of revenue, all kinds of new toll roads and pay lanes are popping up.

In this particular case, even though it is illegal to not accept legal tender Federal Reserve Notes which state on their face that the note is legal tender for all debts public and private, people are actually getting ARRESTED on a private road or privately administered lane for wanting to pay tolls with cash!

Talk about an unintended consequence of states’ intentions to enhance their revenue with these schemes! -> Law abiding citizens getting arrested, taking up law enforcement resources, in order to enforce a private corporation’s debt collection activities!

Needless to say, there are constitutional issues here and this is being challenged in Florida where this occurred.

Your Money’s No Good – On The Roads, That Is…

February 26, 2011

It says on our Fed Funny Money that “this note is legal tender for all debts, public and private.” Except for paying tolls on government roads.   In which case, it’s not.

They won’t take your money. But they will force you to cart around an “easy pass” electronic receiver to pay your toll automatically. A transponder/receiver that identifies your car, notes its passing and sends you the bill (or debits an account). A receiver that also has the capability to track your vehicle as well as monitor its speed. They’re not – yet – using these “easy passes” to do more than collect tolls, but that doesn’t mean they won’t, especially as the financial pressures on state and local governments mount and the search for new revenue sources intensifies.

(more… click here)


  1. wanumba says:

    Got to experience this travesty in Denver recently. Used the PP toll road twice – once going in and once going out. Bill was $23 for the single roundtrip. Obviously the licensing databases are linked since the bill came to AZ in the mail.
    Unbelievable. Judging by wide open and very empty toll road, versus the jammed interstate thru Denver, locals avoid it like the plague. Since it has to be operating at a massive loss, just waiting for the Colorado legislature to pass laws forcing people on to it.

  2. Steve Calabrese says:

    Toll roads = Tax in Disguise

  3. Oberserve says:

    I’m ok with imposition of tolls under the following circumstances:

    1) They are REVENUE NEUTRAL to the government entity entering into the contract. Unfortunately, toll contracts are sold to government as revenue ENHANCING. Then, Steve, you are right, it’s just another tax. However, if the contracting governmental entity returns the “excess” or profit back to the taxpayers, making the contract revenue neutral, then it’s not a tax, it’s a user fee. This is an ok situation from a free market perspective. Unfortunately, few politicians will agree to revenue neutrality.

    2) The monitoring system for the toll does not feed surveillance to law enforcement and it is used ONLY to enforce the contract. Unfortunately, in today’s surveillance society, that division will never occur and the government will demand the surveillance information.

    THEREFORE, given the two items above, there are no realistic circumstances under which pro-free market people should agree with the imposition of a new toll on an existing road.

  4. wanumba says:

    You might also observe that the new toll road is the ONLY way to get to the Denver Airport. It should be called the “airport tax.” And as I mentioned, $23 is a chunk of change for only one section of a full roundtrip to the airport.

  5. Not Crazy Pam says:

    As a native of Southern California toll roads are a life saver, in 10 years when AZ can’t afford another dime for transportation we will all be thankful if we have these PPP toll roads.

  6. Oberserve says:

    Pam, from the perspective of liberals, it’s hard to flaw your argument.

  7. wanumba says:

    The model for privatization of roads, ferries and tunnels is Hong Kong, NOT California.

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