Last Exit Before Toll-Hike Debate
Is that cup half-full or half-empty? The answer is yes, if you compare two newspapers' accounts of a new study forecasting what would happen if ...
Is that cup half-full or half-empty? The answer is yes, if you compare two newspapers' accounts of a new study forecasting what would happen if New Jersey raises its highway tolls, as Gov. Jon Corzine wants to do. Both articles cite the same data--showing that something like 20 percent of drivers might avoid the toll roads--from the study. done by a London traffic-consulting firm at Corzine's behest:
New York Times:
Excerpt: "Most New Jersey drivers would continue using the state's toll roads even if Gov. Jon S. Corzine's proposal to raise fees sharply is adopted...."
Excerpt: "Traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike would fall precipitiously under Gov. Jon Corzine's plan to increase tolls...."
Everything hinges, as you can see, on words like "most" and "precipitously." So the good news for Corzine is that something like 80 percent of motorists will continue to use the toll roads. The good news for opponents of the toll hikes: Something like 20 percent of the motorists will be flooding the local roads. And 100 percent of the forces on both sides of the issue get something they can pound on as the debate unfolds.
Unexamined in either account of the study is the impact of what might be called "the E-ZPass effect." Do drivers equipped with the automatic tolling devices pay much attention to how much they're paying? I certainly don't. As I zip through those express E-ZPass lanes, my thoughts are on how happy I am not to be in those long queues of suckers waiting to pay in cash.
Join the Discussion
After you comment, click Post. You can enter an anonymous Display Name or connect to a social profile.
Washington Works with Unions Before the Bargaining Table2 hours ago
Seattle Mental-Health Official Resigns After Scrutiny of Patient Records25 minutes ago
In Florida Redistricting Battle, Both Parties Claim to Offer Better Protections for Black Voters52 seconds ago
ACA Signups Are Difficult for Recent Legal Immigrants14 minutes ago
States Try to Make It Easier to Raise Money with Crowdfunding39 minutes ago
U.S. Supreme Court Blocks Virginia from Allowing Gay Marriages2 hours ago