Your Money’s No Good – On The Roads, That Is…

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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 misdeameanor 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 Faneiul, 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.

Throw it in the Woods?

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24 COMMENTS

  1. I had no idea that the Florida Turnpike still used bill detection reports. Assholes. You can blame Jim Ely for the fiasco that happened there. He is the Executive Director of the Turnpike Enterprise. He is a condescending prick who was trying to coerce me into purchasing a “Sunpass” transponder while I was meeting with him on toll collection issues. I told him that I would accept a sunpass if they made it completely anonymous, not tagging it to my car or driver’s license. It would actually be easy to do. You just call an 800 number, enter the number of the transponder into the system and you activate a prepaid card much like prepaid cellphones work. When you’re out of minutes, you’re done and no one knows who the hell you are. He told me that a cash based anonymous sunpass was underway.

    Fucking asshole lied to me.

    • “He told me that a cash based anonymous sunpass was underway. ”
      A cash based anonymous sunpass would be easier than one that actually includes any of your details. I assume you knew he was lying from the git=go?

  2. I use an EZ Pass (I sadly reside in the socialist state of NY where nothing escapes regulation). I do so because I “choose” to do so. It makes my trip at the tolls MUCH faster, as there are still people who wait in incredibly long cash lines. Additionally, the toll fees, which are absurd (the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge which takes 5 minutes to cross is $15) are lessened if you use EZ Pass.

    Thing is, I don’t like to be tracked. No particular reason. I’m not a criminal, I just abhor the concept. My solution? When not approaching tolls, I keep my EZ pass in a pair of computer component static-free bags. I”ve tested it a number of times and their scanners WILL NOT pick up the signal to the EZ Pass.

    Yes, I know they use them on road signs to tell the average driver the traffic conditions and how long it will take to get from one highway to another. It’s nice, but I am not assisting them. I like my little passive-aggressive forms of resistance, like opting out at every airport scanner. My wife thinks me childish. I just think we have so few freedoms left that it’s good to give “the man” the finger once in a while.

    • NY eh? So G3Ken, what did you do with that mag? for the G3? I’m not being a horses ass, but how many potential? criminals are there in that state now? I can see why you’d be touchy about that alone. While Tx. isn’t near that bad now and may never be, I don’t give too much credit to either party or “Hair”, our guv, for his inviting everybody to come here, we’re open for bidness he says….but I never heard the invite(In Tx., invite is a noun) for marijuana farmers and that would be such a great thing to do. Pot farming in Tx, the next thing to a world glut.

      • Bravo for figuring out what the name meant!!!! You are the first one, ever. It is my name, coupled with my favorite rifle, my G3K. Mags, what mags? Those would be illegal under the NY SAFE Act and I have no idea what you could be referring to…………..

    • Nice job G3. In Oz we don’t seem to have trackers of that magnitude, although in Melbourne we have E-Tags, similar to the EZPass.

      A particular part of the freeway that uses them charges you if you got one, but if you don’t you don’t get charged, booked, harassed – nothing. Sounds weird but it’s true.

      Part of that freeway (we affectionately call it the South-Eastern carpark), goes through tunnels and exits west of Melbourne. It HAS got overhead gantries and transponders that “beep” and therefore deduct from your E-Tag account, but if you don’t have one they don’t chase you for it. If you turn off there and go to the airport, THAT’S when you get the bill or fines if you don’t have an E-Tag. I discovered that when I took my son to see the planes.

      It took me a while to work out. One day I just said “fuck it”. Many people are paying for nothing.

  3. My car gets 27 miles per gallon. I pay (net of diversions) 27 cents in taxes per gallon of gas for the construction and maintenance of state highways. It would appear that a car driver pays about 1 cent per mile for use of state highways. There is other money that goes into highways, so please accept that the real cost of driving on highways is between 2 or 3 cents per mile.

    Now consider that my local toll road PPP provider pays its contractor around 15 or 20 cents just to collect the electronic tolls. The toll “booths” are around 2 miles apart. That means that the cost of collecting the toll, 8 or 9 cents per mile, is far more than the cost of building and maintaining the damn “freeway”.

    • Dude, everything is like this. It’s like some kind of reverse value added scheme. Makes me sick. There is so much greed, corruption, cheating, and robbery going on constantly and we little people are forced to be preoccupied with shit like not going 10mph over the speed limit in between our ass grabbing sessions at airports. Then we have the fucks termed “Clovers” that think “it’s all good” and “thank you sir may I have another” mentality. It’s a deepening hole with loosening and collapsing sides. People have to assemble and organize to change things. NOTHING will change until we ALL want it.

  4. People should be concerned about these schemes but really this article is a complete off-base mess.

    First off, the article is criticizing two states with extremely conservative GOP governors, Rick Scott and Mitch Daniels, but mentions neither and somehow ties these to Obama and an advisor. Really? I mean that is just silly. Or maybe this is just right-wing dog whistle language.

    Also, the articles is based on the idea that it is unconstitutional for a company to not accept cash as payment. As usual, something is unconstitutional to a conservative if they don’t happen to like it. Look, the legal tender phrase means the Federal Reserve system must honor the currency, not any individual company or person. It is perfectly legal for a company to refuse payment in hundreds of dollars in pennies or in $100 dollar bills.

    Now, here is the real issue. This situation is the direct result of privatization, in fact a scheme which our local ‘Goldwater’ Institute has advocated for Arizona. When governments privatize functions such as maintaining roads or other things, it actually makes the situation for abuse more likely because the private company is in fact insulated legally and politically from the same pressures that a local or state government would feel.

    • I’m not sure why you’re bringing Republican governors into it as I didn’t! But, regardless, don’t look to the Republican Party for liberty. The GOP was founded on the destruction of liberty and on the principle of unlimited federal authority. If anything, the GOP is worse than the Democrat Party, which is at least open about its agenda. But the Republicans mouth the slogans of liberty while systematically undermining it. This fools the flag-fambly-fags crowd, which today sees its new god in the form of the Tundra Twit and which ardently supported (and mostly still does support) The Chimp and his policies of corporatism, police state authoritarianism and empire.

      I do agree with you on the “privatization” issue. What’s happening here is not unlike what happened in Soviet Russia when state industries were “purchased” for pennies on the dollar by shysters who quickly became oligarchs.

      The bottom line: We have a two-headed hydra to fight, government and corporations. They’re essentially the same thing nowadays and until people realize this and act accordingly, nothing is going to change for the better.

    • Your reply demonstrates your total ignorance of what legal tenders laws actually are. Legal tender laws are in fact used against private businesses; that was their original intent, in order to support circulation of depreciating paper money by forcing private creditors to accept paper money as payment for debts incurred in gold. And those laws are in fact unconstitutional, whatever your education has installed in your head. Read and learn:
      http://www.scribd.com/collections/2548086/Michael-Rozeff-s-commentaries-on-Edwin-Vieira-Jr-s-Pieces-of-Eight

      But it doesn’t matter that they are unconstitutional. The government has to follow its own laws if we have to follow them.

      In short, here, a government-established monopoly puts on a corporate face to hide behind “private” discretion in order to, unless conditions are met, refuse to accept cash it would have to accept otherwise if operating under the government’s banner. That is a corrupt relationship on its face.

      But consider further: your payment analogy falls flat. Once you have entered one of these toll areas, you are not allowed to LEAVE the toll booth without filling out a form with personal information in order to pay cash. This means you are effectively in captivity. You do not have the choice to put the item back on the shelf and walk away.

      This is not demanding payment for a product or service. This is keeping someone in captivity on the basis of owing an already-existing debt. A cash payment would extinguish the debt. They do not have the right to place conditions on your exit above and beyond what you agree to when you enter the road, which is the price of passage that is posted very clearly by the side of the road.

  5. When these systems were rolling out many years ago I made the predictions that cash would cost more, then cash would be eliminated as a payment method, people’s movements would be logged for future use, and lastly time-distance speeding tickets would be issued. I was considered a kook for thinking this way. It is slowly coming to pass.

    The only thing that might prevent stage three is revenue. At least in Illinois. The state police are modern day highway men of the Illinois toll roads. Not only would time-and-distance cause traffic to snarl as many people would start obeying the Nixon era speed limit and take different routes, the revenue would probably drop dramatically.

    A couple years ago I wrote about a driving dystopia we are headed towards. I didn’t get much reaction to it and probably few read it, but eventually I imagine us ordinary people will be banned from the better roads which will be for the exclusive use of party members er government office holders/employees and other connected individuals.

  6. Good grief, you weren’t exaggerating when you called Cass Sunstein a “loathesome coercive utopian”. Among other things, this “choice architect” has been pushing FDR’s supernanny state program. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Bill_of_Rights.

    And didya know that “Without taxes, there would be no liberty” or that “Without taxes there would be no property”?

    What that lawyer needs is a lesson in logic for seven year olds. So also his do-gooding ally, Richard Thaler. It would be for their own good, no government required, and maybe Messieurs Nudge would even howl about irony while learning their lesson.

  7. Soon you’ll be able to use your smart phone as a transponder. Worried about privacy? Use a pre-loaded transponder rather than one billed to your credit card. There are lots of options and no one should have to worry about being “forced” to do anything. Instead, worry about what happens to the tolls after you pay them: do they go to help pay for the roads you drove on or are some diverted into some politician’s wacky pork-barrel project?

    • I don’t even have – and hope never to have – a sail fawn! And I definitely do not want my comings and goings monitored in real time or otherwise by the government or its fuck-buddy, corporations. Whatever happened to being free, unmonitored, unrecorded and left the hell alone?

    • In Illinois, the funds collected on the Illinois Tollway are mostly diverted to fund RTA or Regional Transit Authority, the monstrosity that oversees the “public” transportation systems of the six county NE Illinois region, also known as Metropolitan Chicago. The maintenance and construction costs for the Illinois Tollway are still bankrolled in large part by motor fuel taxes and federal Interstate Highway Act funds.

  8. Ha! Soon enough, you’ll have a receipt printer in your dashboard, that will spit out receipts after you have been debited for speeding. It’ll act like an ATM in reverse!

  9. So what happens when someone like me, from the Great State of Maine, wants to use an EZ Pass-only highway? Will I be deprived of access to public roads?

    • Geoff,
      As I understand it here in Florida, they scan your plate, a state owned computer looks up your address info, and mails you the bill for the toll. Many of the Miami area tolls are 75 cents using SunPass, but without it the bill is $1 + $1.25 “handling charge”. If you are driving a rental the rental company database is online and you still get the bill directly. I wonder how this will work if a practical joker makes a fake plate of the mayors license and spends the day driving through the toll booths. What happens is someone steals my car and does the same? Just another GUNvernment scam to raise money.

      • Cover your VIN first. Here in BC the new toll bridge they put in has downward facing cameras. If they can’t make out your plate or there is a challenge, they go to the overhead camera for the VIN.

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