$500,000 won’t make me use E-Z Pass (Opinion)
One of my many character flaws is stubbornness. And from the time I was a young child I always had a very strong sense of principle, of right and wrong. I will admit I’m stubborn enough to see a lot of things only in black-and-white.
So when I saw that the New Jersey Turnpike Authority is about to spend $500,000 in trying to push the 11% of us who have refused to buy into easy pass I was livid.
First of all, you guys up at New Jersey Turnpike Authority are wonderful at wasting money. And we are well aware of E-Z Pass. Spending half a million dollars to flash ads at Met Life Stadium and the Prudential Center is a waste. You’re not going to convince us. We just don’t want it.
Different people will have different reasons. Mine is twofold. The surface reason is because I honestly don’t take toll roads nearly often enough to make sense of being charged a small monthly fee. But even if that were not the case, my core reason for not getting E-Z Pass would still prevail.
The tolls on these roads were supposed to go away many, many years ago. The toll booths were promised to be bulldozed a long time ago.
When the toll roads first came to be the deal struck with the public was that the tolls would only exist long enough to pay off the construction of these highways. But the toll authorities gave out cush jobs. And the fat cats liked it. And the bait-and-switch they pulled was sort of like the tale of the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose California.
Look it up sometime. Sarah Winchester was the widow of the man who owned the Winchester rifle company. She went mad. She believed that the ghosts of everyone who had ever been killed by her husband‘s company's weapons were haunting her. And in her madness she deluded herself into thinking somehow if she did continuous work on this house, literally 24/7 round the clock construction projects, it would serve to keep the spirits at bay.
She had the money and the madness to do it. Round the clock crews were hired to do weird work that needed not to be done. This is why the Winchester house became a tourist attraction, with stairs leading to nothing but a solid wall. Doors with nothing behind them. As long as they were building something the spirits would be satisfied.
This is sort of how they got away with never taking the tolls down. Just keep expanding. Always claim the project was never truly finished. Constantly borrow and cite the covenant with your bond holders so that the tolls would never die. That also of course means their cush jobs would never die.
Did we need some of this expansion? Of course. Did we need it at the cost per mile we've been paying for it? Absolutely not. There were better ways to do this.
Like I said earlier, black-and-white. The deal was the tolls were supposed to go away. Period. And E-Z Pass lets you not think about tolls. You sail through, it’s automatically deducted it from your account. You don’t notice it.
My principles will not allow me to ever get E-Z Pass. Because I don’t want to not think about it. I don’t want to not notice it.
I want to remember the false bill of goods they sold us all and the promise that they never kept.
Like I said, I’m stubborn.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.