1. The tolls on the Crescent City Connection are essentially an unfair “extra tax” on the hard working people who live and work on the West Bank.
2. Collecting the tolls causes massive traffic jams for tens of thousands of Westbank commuters every single day, wasting our time and burning our gasoline. (A 15-minute every day to get thru the tollbooth costs you about $4.00 according to a recently released study -- you don't see it -- but the tolls cost you alot of money every month that you wouldn't be wasting if you weren't waiting in traffic to pay tolls. (See Traffic)
The bottom line is that we were originally promised that the tolls were to pay for the construction of the new bridge, and that they would be removed once the bridge was paid off.
Somehow, the state legislators got their hands on that toll money and instead of paying off the bridge and removing the tolls years ago like they were supposed to, they now use our toll money to pay for the ferries, to pay for an unneeded bridge police force, to pay for lawyers fees and consultants fees and endless expensive studies, and to pay for whatever else they feel like spending our hard-earned money on.
I, like many people, was against the tolls being renewed even before we found out that our toll money has been spent on a lot of things it shouldn’t have been spent on.
I have a question: why haven’t our state representatives from the West Bank publicly opposed the renewal of the tolls in 2012? As our representatives, they should be fighting to lower our taxes, and toll is simply another word for tax. I find it hard to comprehend that the rest of Louisiana is going to pass a tax on the Westbank and that the legislators from our area aren’t going to do anything about it.
What bothers me the most about the tolls is that the people of the Westbank paid for that bridge. And not only did we pay for the bridge, we’ve paid to operate it and maintain it for a long time.
And above all that, we also paid to operate the ferries to the tune of approx $7 Million per year, in spite of the fact that all of the other ferries in the state are paid for/operated by the DOTD, except for ours. So we’ve paid for the bridge IN FULL and on top of that we have, in effect, “donated” an extra $50 Million to the states general operating fund by paying for the ferries.
The DOTD has an annual operating budget of $2.3 Billion (or in other words: 2,300 Million). So there’s no convincing me they can’t afford to pay for our ferries – they’ve definitely got the money - and up until our state legislators decided to take our toll money and start paying for the ferries with it, the DOTD had always paid for the New Orleans ferries. The truth is that more than enough tax revenues come into the state coffers from New Orleans to justify the DOTD paying for our ferries again – just like they used to – and just like they are doing now for the other ferries in Louisiana.
If the tolls are renewed in 2012, then Westbankers will have to continue to pay to cross our own bridge - while there are bridges all across Louisiana that the state paid to build, yet those bridges are totally free to cross? How much more unfair could a situation possibly be ?
I call upon the state legislators from the Westbank to find a way to stop the tolls from being renewed in 2012. Please don’t let the rest of the state unfairly tax your constituents. The people who put you in office are getting the short end of the stick here and we’re asking for your help and support.
In conclusion, the tolls were supposed to pay for the new bridge, not become a permanent “extra tax” on the people of the Westbank who have paid more than our fair share for a very long time.
Stop the tolls in 2012 !!!