Transforming Airline Highway into a high-speed toll road, as proposed by state Sen. Franklin Foil, R-Baton Rouge, is a bad idea.
Having grown up on the East Coast, I can tell you firsthand that tolls are not only annoying; they never go away. The Pennsylvania Turnpike, one of America’s first interstates, was built in 1946 with dozens of toll booths. Taxpayers were told the booths would disappear as soon as the turnpike was paid for. Ha, ha, ha. They collect tolls to this day.
Try driving down the coast through Delaware, Maryland and Virginia; the interstate is so littered with toll booths, it seems like you can’t get up to speed before you are slowing down again, digging for change.
Believe me, if you make this trip in the summer, your air conditioner is working.
Roads are costly, which is one reason we haven’t started building a loop around Baton Rouge. Perhaps after all the other deals have been cut, a city leader will emerge who recognizes the need to move the loop to the front burner.
Seeing the words “high-speed” and “toll road” together in the same sentence makes me laugh. Funding is an issue, sure, but there are less painful ways to raise money than through toll booths.