UPDATED French toll road operator wants fire-engines to pay to reach blazes

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/09/29/greed-is-good.html

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“… crash the gate doing ninety-eight. I says “Let them truckers roll, 10-4.””


Just the free market at work, ladies and gentleman. Some destroyed homes and a few dead people (who likely didn’t exercise personal responsibility) are a small price to pay to move society away from those taxpayer-supported Commie thoroughfares (“the roads to serfdom”, amirite?). Those firemen could take a lesson from these brave toll road tycoons and pivot their own business model back to the one they had during the good old days.


The French have a strange sense of humor.


Indeed, apparently they like Jerry Lewis! :crazy_face:


Shame on anyone who expected anything different. You get the behavior you incentivize.


Looks like the story may have been updated - at the bottom of the linked story:

The highway operator in a statement Friday morning, clarified that “the rules of gratuity applicable to firefighters on motorway have not changed, and will not change on October 1, 2017.”

In any event, what exactly is the problem with the governmental firefighting agency paying for its use of private property? France is clearly okay with the concept of privately built and operated roads, which confer benefits to the public without the corresponding public expense for building and maintenance. TANSTAAFL, folks.

These days, with radio toll transponders, there is no need to even slow down and stop to pay a cash toll - the system can automatically toll and bill the municipality. Perhaps Cory was thinking that this would be the scenario?

Time to have that chat with the president of Vinci: “Nice mansion. Shame if it caught fire and the fire trucks took the public roads to get here.”


Time to stop funding public works by selling them to private companies.


Sure, but why do you think that is done? For the most part, it is precisely because the public is unwilling to countenance the tax increases necessary to fund the operation and maintenance of said public works. In most cases, we have met the enemy - and it is us.


Personally I don’t mid paying taxes and welcome the benefits, like universal health care; I’m not so sanguine about the public funds used to blow up people around the world.


I agree if the government is silly enough or desperate enough to have to finance road building in this way, there is nothing inherently wrong with the operator charging them.

You’d hope that a halfway competent government would insist on free passage for its vehicles however.


Understandable. Presumably, you also understand that some of our fellow citizens/taxpayers have different priorities and interests. Many of them really hate tax increases, even for beneficial things (schools, hospitals, parks). Let’s face it - many of them are childish adults, always wanting something for nothing.

Some governments have tried to deal with their childish constituents by creatively financing necessary functions. Privatization is one means by which this has been done.

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I have often thought that governments really should be more open with the electorate and flat out ask:

We have Xty Billion state funds.

Do you want this? It’ll cost X billion.
What about this? That’ll cost Y billion.

and so on.

If you want all of these things, you will have to pay this much more. Do you want to do that?

If not, which of things you’ve told us you want are you prepared to give up?


“Healthy Babies or Bin Collections? Which do you want?”

You’d hope that a halfway competent government would insist on free passage for its vehicles however.

So your aggressive neighbour doesn’t take over the companies controlling the private roads, and then closes the roads to your army when they invade. :smiley:

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Or “Both and 50p on income tax?”


Whether the fire trucks travel free or not they still have to carry a tag so that the tolling system knows they are a fire truck.

Don’t they have a bypass lane for emergency vehicles so that they don’t have to wait in line while each of the people in front of them dig through their seat cushions for exact change?

Not far off. Pathos, you know.

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