Toll Roads That Won’t Take Cash

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Recently by Eric Peters: A Bad Moon on the Rise. . .      

It says on our Fed Funny Money that “this note is legal tender for all debts, public and private.” Except for paying tolls on government roads.

In which case, it’s not.

They won’t take your money. But they will force you to cart around an “easy pass” electronic receiver to pay your toll automatically. A transponder/receiver that identifies your car, notes its passing and sends you the bill (or debits an account). A receiver that also has the capability to track your vehicle as well as monitor its speed. They’re not — yet — using these “easy passes” to do more than collect tolls, but that doesn’t mean they won’t, especially as the financial pressures on state and local governments mount and the search for new revenue sources intensifies.

Bet your bippie that’s coming. 

The creepy part is that just like trying to fly without being gate raped, in states that have these systems in place — Florida, for example — there is no opting out. If you want to use the Florida Turnpike you can’t use cash. You must have a transponder. If you don’t have one and run the road, they’re ready for you. The state is rolling out a license plate recognition system that will automatically cuff n’ stuff you — or at least, send you a bill for using the road.

Plus a “processing fee.” 

There’s no recourse — and no appeal. Other than simply staying home. 

The tactic is an example of the left-statist “nudge” (at gunpoint) advocated by the loathsome coercive utopian Cass Sunstein, mentor to his Obamaness but by no means a phenomenon exclusive to the political left. The right is just as thuggish — witness the TSA and its low-rent Stalinism. They both have the same objectives: Power and control for them; powerlessness and submission for you and me.   

And Florida is by no means unique. Indiana is another state that has adopted a nearly identical measure on some of its toll roads. Same deal. They not only won’t take your money — that is, your allegedly “legal tender for all debts, public and private” cash money — they have taken down and removed any possible way to pay except via the “easy pass.” Or the plate reader that sends you (well, the registered owner of the vehicle) the bill.

Some are pushing back.

In Florida, a class-action suit has been filed that accuses the government — and the private contractor, the sickeningly named Faneuil, Inc. (our Founders are rolling at high RPMs in their graves) of unlawfully detaining motorists who wish to pay with cash — which, after all, is still legal tender.

Or so it says on the stuff.

And of violating their Fourth Amendment rights: 

“For approximately four years, FDOT and Faneuil have engaged in a practice of detaining motorists and their passengers on the Turnpike System until such motorists provided certain personal information in exchange for their release,” attorney James C. Valenti wrote on behalf of the plaintiffs. “The motorists and passengers have been detained without their consent and without legal justification.”

People who tried to pay with cash — remember, “legal tender for all debts, public and private” — were detained and required to fill out a Bill Detection Report that included such information as the driver’s name and address, the make/model/year of vehicle, license plate number and so on. Motorists captured in this gantlet — literally, there was no escape; the toll operator would not open the gate and if a motorist tried to back out, it would be “reckless driving,” an arrestable misdemeanor offense — effectively had no choice. Fill out the form.

Submit, obey.

According to Valenti, more than 250,000 people have been detained by FDOT and its corporate henchmen at Faneuil, Inc., merely for trying to use American currency to pay a toll. Or rather, for declining to carry the “easy pass” electronic transponder.

In this upended version of America, people just trying to go about their business — whether by plane or car — are to be forced to submit to an ever-increasing array of humiliations and perpetual monitoring.

It’s not just that the government wants to “reduce operating costs,” as claimed by FDOT and Faneuil, Inc. It’s that they want to have the ability to identify and track every car on the road, for purposes that will become apparent as time goes by. The shyster insurance cartels have been drooling like Pavlov’s dogs for years at the prospect of being able to know, in real time, just exactly how fast you’re driving — and (super chubby here) debit you every single time you “speed” or otherwise give them an excuse to jack up your rates. Meanwhile, the state will take its cut — withdrawing the funds from your account automatically. Due process, schmoshes. If we want your money, we’ll take your money. 

Can’t you hear it? Speeding is illegal — and unsafe. We want to make our roads safer. This technology will save lives.

It’s been done with red light cameras — already a billion-dollar industry. Bet your bippie it will be done here too.

Meanwhile, what about this “legal tender” business? Is money no longer money? Perhaps Valenti will see an opportunity to press the question. We already know our Fed Funny Money is just that — scraps of increasingly worthless paper.

Maybe it’s time to make it official.

Eric Peters [send him mail] is an automotive columnist and author of Automotive Atrocities and Road Hogs (2011). Visit his website.

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