Out of style
by the 1830s, one hundred years later toll roads were revived and even
applauded on souvenirs like this commemorative drinking glass. Money raised
through bond sales supported road projects that otherwise might not proceed;
the money was paid back through toll revenue, thus avoiding taxing locals.
The very first of the mid-20th century toll highways
was Pennsylvania's, proudly featured on this glass. While 1939 estimates
put the daily traffic for the new highway at 715 vehicles, the actual
figure two weeks after it opened in 1940 was 26,000! Along with the completion
of the New Jersey and Ohio turnpikes in the 1950s, drivers had an uninterrupted
trip from New York to Chicago. Traffic on all far surpassed early estimates,
and overshadowed critics' predictions that drivers would never choose
a pay road over a free one.