In recent months since Miller Myers and I started Roll Back Tolls we have talked to hundreds of people that have many different views and opinions about the new MDX tolls on 874, 878 and 924. Many, including myself were not happy to see the new tolls going up. I as others was upset that we now have to participate in paying the tolls when we never did before. We have seen comments on our website and Facebook page stating that we are just bitter about this new reality when in fact many of the people south of the 874 have been paying the full price for many years. Believe me we have gotten an earful from this group south of 874. And we have listened and have posted their comments to our website. After all we want to be a resource for all views and opinions regarding the many transportation issues facing our community.
In our many communications and meetings with MDX we have been told that the new tolls allow for a more equal and “fairer” method for everyone to pay their fair share. Well, since MDX now is on this crusade to level the toll paying playing field we should ask them to do the same for us. You see, MDX is collecting a lot more revenue from the added tolls on 874 and 878 than before, thanks to O.R.T. (open road tolling technology). From our estimation 10-30% more toll revenue, especially when you factor that they no longer have to hire toll collectors, construct toll plazas, collect, handle and count cash, etc.
A fair and equitable solution would be to “roll back” the overall toll rates on these roads by the exact percentage of increased revenue generated from the additional toll sites/gantries. As an example, the toll rate for traveling the full length of the 874 from the turnpike to the Palmetto/Bird Road is currently $1.00. Reducing this by say 25%, from the added revenue MDX now collects, would lower the cost from $1.00 to .75 cents. This would help all toll payers and especially those south of the 874 that have been carrying the full burden of the tolls for many years. In this example MDX could “roll back” the toll rate before Bird Road from .50 to .25 cents. And additionally roll back the rates on 878 as well so that the total cost of traveling the full length of 874 to Bird or to US1 would equal the new “rolled back” rate of .75 cents. Moreover, this could be done with little to no additional implementation expense to MDX. Just push a few buttons, click, click, click on the O.R.T. computers and presto! Fairness for all!
We realize there are no FREE roads. I am reminded of this every time I fill up may gas tank or look at my Sun Pass bill. No one is asking for a free ride on MDX’s roads. We would though appreciate a better effort in communicating with the toll paying public from now on. Especially if MDX wants us to pay the mortgage for many years into the future.
I would hope that the top brass at MDX take this practical solution to heart and look at it for it’s fairness and worthiness. It’s time MDX show some compassion to its customers, if that’s who we are, during these challenging economic times.
As always we welcome your comments and suggestions which you may post by clicking on the “leave a comment” link below.