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Original post made
on May 21, 2009
This is crazy! The Toll people should be charged with hindering the timely response of our police and firefighters. I would like to know if the toll companies are fighting this proposed fix in Sacramento. If so, they should be fired!!!
Another example of why it's a bad idea to allow a for-profit entity to take over a function of a government service.
So let me get this straight...emergency service vehicles, which are paid for by taxes, are getting tickets from the bridge, which is paid for by taxes...how are they not exempt? Seriously, one government agency is citing and fining another for bridge tolls? Are they that desperate for money? This state is a mess.
Confused, I strongly suspect that it's FasTrak, a for-profit entity running the toll collection operation, that is profiting from the fines. And that's what I meant when I said it's a bad idea to involve for-profit companies to provide basic public services, like keeping public roadways functional, accessible and safe.
For the sake of clarity, FasTrak is the for-profit contractor -- hired by the state/Caltrans/the taxpayer -- that runs the toll-gathering operation of the state's bridges. The rest of the highway operation is overseen by Caltrans. I think these emergency agencies have to do battle with the contractor directly to try to get their fines dropped. Ridiculous.
The irony is that the Fire and Police are providing emergency services to CalTrans for FREE and then CalTrans is charging the Fire and Police for the 'privilege' of providing that service.
Palo Alto simply pays the citation fine.
And why should the citizen's of Palo Alto BOTH provide free emergency services to CalTrans AND pay for the privilege of doing so?
The City of Palo Alto may well pay the citations but I suspect that the citizens of Palo Alto would be appalled by that decision.
As an interim solution to toll tickets for emergency response perhaps the fire district and police district could add fast track to their vehicles and send in the emergency reports lieu of payment. Do we really need another State law amendment to fix this? From reading the article it appears for non-emergency trips, toll is required.
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