An Autobahn Lane

Driving back and forth across the interstates of Ohio has taken up more of my life than I’d like to admit. First, it was trips along I-75 between Cincinnati and Toledo, while I was in undergrad – Botkins, Anna Minster, the suicide turn at Sugar towers at Findlay, and on across windswept Northern Ohio. It got so bad I literally had panic attacks before setting off on a trip. Women took me back and forth between Cincinnati and Toledo, Cincinnati and Cleveland, and Cincinnati and Dayton. Then came long drives that had only begun in Ohio and finally ended – with long stretches in the Old Dominion. Now, I’ve returned have once again had to drive back and forth along Ohio Interstates, now from the capital city to the city-state of Cincinnatus. All that driving, well it makes one get a little addled.

Over at UrbanOhio , I shared one of those thoughts that come along when you’re floating along at 72 with the cruise set because Ohio’s revenue enhancement force is out in full and I’ve made enough contributions to them over the years.
I’ve included these thoughts below:

I actually think the way to start tolling the interstates is with an autobahn lane – mostly it would useful for well-traveled rural intercity spots – 71 would be a prime example – but I could see 65 between Indy and Chicago as another example. Trucks would be verboten. I’d probably have it gated but no actual toll booths, you could only enter every few miles and your time spent on the road would be gathered with road sensors, GPS, and perhaps some extended version of the existing toll transponders. To use the lanes, I’d probably also include a special inspection with fees that okay your car for extended high speed travel.

The idea is that one lane would be high speed (I’d guess 100 mph, but even 85 or 90 mph. would be okay). However, the lane would tolled according to the full price of the lane – which would include construction costs, extra police and emergency that comes with higher speed, and a gas tax penalty that driving over 70/75 brings in terms gas usage in most cars.

The carrot is to give people the opportunity to get where they want to go ASAP, while at the same time beginning to condition the population to the full cost of the current road system.


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