Yesterday the New York Times published an excellent column in its "Room for Debate" series, this one on using tolls from roads to fund other projects. The backgrounder specifically cites Dulles Toll Road tolls being used to pay for more than half of Metrorail construction costs. An example it doesn't cite is the New York Port Authority using tolls from the bridges to Manhattan to re-build the World Trade Center--not even a transportation project.
Below we reproduce the short backgrounder on the topic from the NYT. For the views from a variety of economic, transportation, civic, and political experts, please click on this link to the article.
It’s usually some consolation when you hand over a $5 bill at the toll booth or slow down for E-ZPass: At least the money will go toward keeping this road drivable. But in some cases, that’s no longer a safe assumption. In Northern Virginia, drivers on the Dulles Toll Road are paying more than half the cost of an expansion of the Metro train system. In Ohio, the director of the turnpike authority says its revenue should be used for other projects.
Should revenue from toll roads be spent on other transportation priorities, like public transit?