This past Sunday, the Delaware River Port Authority raised the toll to cross all the major bridges connecting Philadelphia and NJ: The Walt Whitman, Ben Franklin, Betsy Ross and Commodore Barry. And in 2 short years, they plan on raising it to $5 dollars. This hits me pretty hard, since I use the Betsy Ross Bridge daily.
I’ve talked about this problem before, and the solution is obvious to me: Privatize the bridges.
The DRPA (Delaware River Port Authority) is over a billion dollars in debt, and they say they need the extra income to pay down that debt. One of the reasons stated for the increase is that less people are using the bridge, so they need more money. Stop and think about that for a second. What if this were a private business? If less people are using your product or service, do you raise the price?
The poor management of the DRPA caused the billion in debt, and now they’re passing it off to the good citizens of the Philadelphia and NJ area. If these bridges were built only a few years ago, we wouldn’t have these absurd tolls, there would be a scaled toll system, where higher tolls are paid during busy traffic hours and lower tolls are paid during off hours. That’s too complicated for a government run enterprise though.
The time is now, DRPA can still sell off these bridges piecemeal. They could sell one of the bridges to a private firm and use that revenue to pay down debt. It’d be a step in the right direction.
Call your local representatives people.