For those of you who don’t live in Oklahoma, we have a shit ton of toll roads.
Oklahoma has more toll roads than any other state in the nation. The toll roads are operated by the Oklahoma Transportation Authority. They are not elected officials. The governor appoints the director and the board. Both of whom make the big decisions. Decisions like raising the toll rates by 16% in the middle of a state recession.
The money made off tolls goes to the bond holders who bought bonds to build the road plus interest. None of the money made by tolls goes to the state. None. The Oklahoma Transportation Authority must make a certain percentage of money or the bondholders can take over operations.
The bond holders can take over operations. Think about that. They are not required to go through any legislative means to do so. They can raise rates to whatever they want.
The turnpikes were original set up as a pay as you go type situation. It was supposed to be a way to pay for roadways without putting the state in a crap ton of debt.
The most recent numbers I can find about the turnpike debt is from 2010. It sat at 1.1 BILLION then. Bondholders made about a 5% interest on that debt.Which means they will profit some 60 million dollars a year. 60 MILLION A YEAR!
In the meantime, the OTA has 25 new toll roads pre-approved.
Ok, now that you are informed, lets talk about why this is bullshit. The middle class is taxed a shit ton. Our taxes are supposed to pay for public programs as well as the income for government workers and officials.
I would say ROADS are part of that. They can’t use the state debt nonsense because that clearly isn’t the case. I’d say 1.1 billion in debt kinda fries that chicken.
They can’t say our tax money is going to education. We are ranked 48th in the nation. They are currently discussing 4 day school weeks and cutting buses.
So, what the fuck?
This is taking something that should be open to the public and making it privately controlled. This is a furthering of the monetary caste system.
Want to get to work? Gotta pay to drive on our road. Oh, don’t have the extra money for that? No, we won’t raise minimum wage. Go to college. Can’t pay for college? Too bad, get 2 jobs.
It’s another bullshit way to punish the poor for being poor. Nickle and dime us to death.
That is why they are bullshit.
Roads should be open to the public. Period. No extra money. Our taxes should fucking cover roads.