Toll Booths

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Toll Booths

Postby Andy Sylvia » Thu Aug 07, 2008 1:56 pm

88 days and 10 hours to go....

Due to an emergency yesterday, I used the toll booths in Hooksett on I-93.

For many of you, that might not seem like a big deal, but I see using a New Hampshire toll booth the same way a Jehovah's Witness might see testifying in court or voting. I only wish I were as pious as they seem to be, i've lost track of how many times i've gone through the tolls this year, I suppose i'm fortunate that i've kept it in the single digits despite going from Merrimack to Concord and back just about every day.

Tolls are the second biggest issue from people i've talked to at doors, but unfortunately in their eyes it's tinged with the biggest issue: nobody can do anything about it.

For those of you who are reading this article from outside Merrimack, let me explain simply.

Our town has 1/20th of New Hampshire's population. We have 1/3rd of the state's toll booths. Last time I checked, we do not have 1/3rd of the state's wealth.

If that is not economic injustice, I don't know what is.

The story of the tollbooths comes from the late 1980s, we wanted our exits onto the F.E Everett Turnpike expanded. So, the state came to us and said "if you want your exits expanded, you'll need to approve 'temporary' tollbooths". Twenty years later and those temporary tollbooths have become permanent due to a multi-million dollar profit the state rakes in and a lack of organized resistance from the town itself.

That must change.

It will take two years, and it will take more than myself, but I have a three point plan to fight back effectively against the injustices of the Turnpike System.

First off, we as Merrimackers must stop using the tolls. I've tried to live the example I want to preach, only using the tolls in absolute emergencies, but it'll take hundreds of Merrimackers to stop using the tolls and start saving their toll money in a grassroots effort, led by the Town Council and our delegation in Concord. Executive Councillor Deb Pignatelli has already made a great foundation with her Tolltalkers group.

Second, we need to find more Deb Pignatellis: people from outside of Merrimack who are affected by tolls. This is not an issue about Merrimack, this is an issue of social justice, if we are to succeed in Concord, all of the effort cannot come from just Merrimack. Dover faces a similiar plight to us, and many other towns and cities feel the disproportionate focus on certain areas that the Turnpike System has.

And finally, we need to use that money saved from avoiding the tolls to build a warchest to fight the tolls. Legal fees, political action groups, mass media communication, all of it costs money and all of it will probably be necessary in order to make progress on the toll issue.

I cannot guarantee a timeframe on success, but I can guarantee that we will fail if we decide to give up or continue on without any effective strategy like the one I just said above.
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Re: Toll Booths

Postby Jeannine Stergios » Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:55 pm

Andy

The elected officials in Concord have increased the budget by over 17 million at last count. Don't you think that before they decide to vote in state tax or income tax that they should consider cutting spending?

Do you believe that we should be paying to educate, clothe, feed, house and provide medical care to illegal immigrants in this state? I would bet if you look at the money spent on this and change the eligibility requirements to being at least a green card holder that some costs would drop very quickly. Personally, I think only citizenss should be eligible for any type of help and that people choosing to immigate here should be self-sufficient and ineligible for any handouts for two years after arriving.

I know some will argue that they pay taxes. That should be condiered their fee for the privilege of being invited to America.
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Re: Toll Booths

Postby Andy Sylvia » Thu Aug 07, 2008 5:37 pm

Jeannine,

This thread is about toll booths. Like I said to whatever Chris Ager is calling himself now (heck, I need to be honest, it may be someone else using a proxy in Northern Virginia to appear to be Chris Ager, that's the thing about anon accounts), if you know a voter in town who has a concern about this and would be able to remain anonymous, let me know who they are privately and i'll go talk to them.

In the end, that's the purpose of these journals -- to document what is on the minds of Merrimack voters I talk to and my observations on what they're saying.

Not a single one person i've talked to on the doors i've knocked on has said spending is too high, but many have said the tolls are a problem. You're welcome to come walk with me if you'd like.
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Re: Toll Booths

Postby Jeannine Stergios » Fri Aug 08, 2008 10:54 am

Andy

I cannot walk with you. Remember I use oxygen?

My family spends about $500.00 on tolls per yr compared to over $7K per yr in property taxes. There is no comparison to what the real spending problems are. If tolls are their biggest issue then they're lucky.

DO I want the tolls gone - absolutely. Do I think it will ever happen - more than likely never.
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Re: Toll Booths

Postby Andy Sylvia » Mon Aug 11, 2008 10:46 am

Jeannine Stergios wrote:Andy

I cannot walk with you. Remember I use oxygen?


I did not. You are so energetic on here, it was easy to forget :-)

Let me rephrase, you can come with me if you want if there is some way you are able.

Jeannine Stergios wrote: If tolls are their biggest issue then they're lucky.


Then most of Merrimack is lucky. All towns pay property taxes, but the tolls are like a Merrimack specific tax.


Jeannine Stergios wrote:DO I want the tolls gone - absolutely. Do I think it will ever happen - more than likely never.


Not with that attitude. It won't be easy, but we can do it if we decide to not use the tolls, save our money from it, and work with other places that have suffered the same injustice.
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Re: Toll Booths

Postby rowland » Mon Aug 11, 2008 11:08 am

Jeannine Stergios wrote:Andy
My family spends about $500.00 on tolls per yr compared to over $7K per yr in property taxes. There is no comparison to what the real spending problems are. If tolls are their biggest issue then they're lucky.


Opposing the toll booths is a no-brainer. Opposing all the other excessive taxes and bonded debt ought to be a no-brainer as well.

Andy knows he won't get elected as a Merrimack Rep if he doesn't make a lot of noise against the toll booths. Now if only he'd make at least as much noise against all the other manifestations of a state government out of control. Then we'd know the toll booth rhetoric is more than just pandering.
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Re: Toll Booths

Postby Andy Sylvia » Mon Aug 11, 2008 2:43 pm

rowland wrote: Now if only he'd make at least as much noise against all the other manifestations of a state government out of control.


You'll have to show me where the state government is out of control, Rowland, in particular where the people of Merrimack think the state government is out of control. I'm warning you though, you'll have to go offline for a little while :)

rowland wrote:toll booth rhetoric


Exactly, that's what I want to fight with the three point plan, available. For far too long, our delegation has gone up to Concord with no strategy. Success in achieving a just turnpike system is by no means assured, but if we take individual responsibility for avoiding the tolls as well as saving that money we don't use towards a legal fund and working with other towns to do the same, we may have a chance.
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Re: Toll Booths

Postby Jeannine Stergios » Mon Aug 11, 2008 3:18 pm

Andy

For people who commute to MA each day it's pretty hard to avoid the tolls without adding extra miles and time to your commute.

I'm surprised that so many people feel tolls are the biggest issue facing Merrimack. To me they are annoying and an unfair burden to us. Property taxes and the additional 17 million added to the state budget up in Concord have a much larger impact on peoples' budgets than the tolls do.
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Re: Toll Booths

Postby TCF » Mon Aug 11, 2008 5:17 pm

I agree with you Jeannine, property taxes in Merrimack are a much bigger issue than the tolls. I think instead of fighting to rid the tolls, make a percentage of the take go to each and every property owner in Merrimack to help ease this burden. Unfortunatly I don't believe either will happen. Death and taxes, remember Andy. Once a tax is is levied, it is nearly impossible to get rid of.
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Re: Toll Booths

Postby rowland » Tue Aug 12, 2008 11:17 am

Andy Sylvia wrote:
rowland wrote:
You'll have to show me where the state government is out of control, Rowland, in particular where the people of Merrimack think the state government is out of control. I'm warning you though, you'll have to go offline for a little while :)


I'm WAY ahead of you. Start by browsing my site:

http://nhcitizen.org/

Then browse the links on the right hand bar of that site and realize there are a LOT of citizens who know more about state government than you do.

Then explain to us all why you haven't made it a priority to know about all of this. Because you're setting off my B.S. detectors all over the place now.
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Re: Toll Booths

Postby Andy Sylvia » Tue Aug 12, 2008 11:37 am

rowland wrote:
I'm WAY ahead of you. Start by browsing my site:


I'll be happy to browse yours once you browse mine.

Apparently you haven't as of yet due to your continuing deceptions as to what my positions are, as well as those of anyone who happens to disagree with you on any issue.
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Re: Toll Booths

Postby Andy Sylvia » Tue Aug 12, 2008 11:41 am

TCF wrote: I agree with you Jeannine, property taxes in Merrimack are a much bigger issue than the tolls.


I disagree with you, as do the people of Merrimack i've met so far. However, i'd be happy to listen to people who disagree once Jeannine can introduce me to them.

TCF wrote:Unfortunatly I don't believe either will happen.


We'll have to disagree here. It won't be easy, and it may not happen for a long time, but we can do it.

TCF wrote:Once a tax is is levied, it is nearly impossible to get rid of.


The town of Merrimack knows this all too well with the "temporary" toll booths that the state put in to widen the exits off the F.E Everett Turnpike.
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Re: Toll Booths

Postby Jeannine Stergios » Tue Aug 12, 2008 12:08 pm

Andy Sylvia

I disagree with you, as do the people of Merrimack i've met so far. However, i'd be happy to listen to people who disagree once Jeannine can introduce me to them.


I don't know who you talk to but perhaps you should stop in to the DW Diner on a Saturday or Sunday morning and ask the people there what bothers them the most and then come back and tell me what they had to say.
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Re: Toll Booths

Postby Andy Sylvia » Tue Aug 12, 2008 12:51 pm

Jeannine Stergios wrote:Andy Sylvia

I disagree with you, as do the people of Merrimack i've met so far. However, i'd be happy to listen to people who disagree once Jeannine can introduce me to them.


I don't know who you talk to but perhaps you should stop in to the DW Diner on a Saturday or Sunday morning and ask the people there what bothers them the most and then come back and tell me what they had to say.


That is an excellent idea. If the owners of the DW Diner are ok with it, I would love to do that. Heck, maybe even Rowland can make the trip over from his home on the seacoast and video tape it!
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Re: Toll Booths

Postby platypusman » Wed Aug 13, 2008 7:21 am

Andy have you asked the question to voters directly as to if their property taxes are too high?

I am growing concerned with your methodology for determining your positions on issues of the day. If you just walk around, chances are you will not find out what is on peoples' minds. You need to have a vision for what impact you would have as a state rep. Right now, it seems you are conducting an unscientific popularity contest.

People want know where does Andy Sylvia stands on:

1- The recent 17% increase in state spending?
2- The need for broad base taxes?
3- The recent authorization of $80M in new borrowing?


Do you have your own position on these issues?
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