Supporters of highway tolls have hijacked our nation’s roadways

To claim that toll road usage is up as if toll road usage is an indicator of public support for toll roads is flawed thinking (“Advocates tout 2015 tolling increase,” June 30). 

When drivers have experienced toll road proliferation at every turn, non-toll options are shrinking. Therefore, the 14 percent increase in toll road trips can be attributed to more toll roads being built that limit “free” options and force more and more drivers to pay in order to gain mobility on what was once a freely accessible public highway system. The cost of everything we buy is going up due to this explosion in our cost to travel and transport goods. Americans are experiencing it firsthand every time they buy groceries and other necessities. 

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The International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association is a special-interest group that profits off toll roads. The unpopularity of toll roads is growing and visible with grassroots anti-toll groups popping up everywhere toll roads are being proliferated, especially where toll lanes are being added to existing freeways. Tolls are a punitive, confiscatory tax, and billions of dollars from our gas taxes and other public money are propping up toll roads that can’t pay for themselves. Tolls are anti-taxpayer and double taxation. 

Politicians and the unelected toll bureaucracies they enable have hijacked our public roads and shoved toll roads down our throats, forcing us to pay this new tax on driving or stay stuck in congestion on the “free” lanes. More and more you’re not going to get free expansion, only tolled expansion, making those who can’t pay tolls second-class citizens stuck in gridlock. Tolls mean highways operate less efficiently and put mobility out of reach for the vast majority of the traveling public. With monthly toll bills between $200 and $400, some are having to face how to get to work and still manage to put food on the table. 

It’s just one more area government is squeezing the middle class into poverty.

From Terri Hall, founder and director, Texans for Toll-free Highways and Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom, San Antonio, Texas

This headline in the July 2 edition of The Hill caught my attention: “GOP fears Trump hurting brand.” I guess the Republicans have amnesia. Why pick on The Donald when so many others have damaged the party’s brand? 

It was the conservative Tea Party wing of the GOP that shut down the government in 2013. It was former Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) who made that reprehensible comment about “legitimate rape” in 2012. It was Missouri Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntGOP balks at White House push for standalone vote on debt ceiling Republicans say they're satisfied with 2020 election security after classified briefings GOP senators decline to criticize Acosta after new Epstein charges MORE who sponsored an amendment allowing employers to deny women birth control coverage if their employers found contraception morally objectionable. It was former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell who signed into law a measure requiring a woman be given an ultrasound image of her fetus before aborting it.

It was 47 Republican senators who sent a letter to Iran warning its leaders that any agreement between Washington and Tehran could be voided by Congress once President Obama leaves office in 2017. And it is all the GOP candidates running for president who blasted the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on ObamaCare. Only one hedged his opposition to the court’s ruling about gay marriage the following day. 

No, I think quite a few Republicans have damaged the party’s brand. Donald Trump is just the latest example of a candidate gone astray.

From Denny Freidenrich, Laguna Beach, Calif.