For Whom the Governor Tolls

by Don Boudreaux on January 18, 2006

in Myths and Fallacies, Prices, Regulation, Travel

Virginia’s new governor, Tim Kaine (D), gave a speech earlier this week proposing to help solve Virginia’s (terrible) traffic-congestion problem by restricting economic growth.  The idea, of course, is to keep population growth down so that less traffic than otherwise clogs Virginia’s roads.

Kaine is also opposed to placing tolls on existing roads.  In his own words: "as a general rule, I don’t believe in tolling existing roads."

While I can find no reason expressed by Kaine to justify his opposition to tolling existing roads, a good bet is that — like many other people opposed to tolls — he believes that tolls are an unfair burden upon the poor.

Does Gov. Kaine not see that any plan, such as his, to restrict the building of new homes causes housing prices to rise to heights higher than they would otherwise reach and, hence, creates a larger burden for the poor to bear?  Or perhaps the Governor believes that higher prices caused by government-imposed restrictions on housing supply are inherently more fair than are the burdens that arise from pricing inherently scarce road space.


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