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Toll Collectors


Throughout history, the upkeep and maintenance of roads around the world usually fell to the reigning powers. However, in 1663, three counties in England obtained authority to levy tolls on users to pay for the improvement of a major road linking York and London. By the 18th century, all major roads in Great Britain incorporated tolls, or turnpike trusts, to pay for maintenance.

In 1785, Virginia built a turnpike and other states quickly followed suit. The very first hard-surfaced road of any great length in the United States was the Lancaster Turnpike, completed in 1794. Almost 150 years later, the first successful U.S. toll road for all types of motor vehicles was built in that same state.

The United States contains more than 4 million miles of paved and unpaved streets, roads, and highways. With the wear and tear brought on by harsh weather conditions and constant use, these road surfaces need to be repaired frequently. The construction and repair of streets and highways are funded primarily by state gasoline taxes, vehicle registrations, and other operating fees. However, some highway, bridge, and other transportation improvements are paid for by individual user fees known as tolls. The fees for using turnpikes and toll roads usually depend on the distance a motorist travels. Trucks, trailers, and other heavy vehicles pay more for using these roads than passenger cars because their extra weight puts more strain on pavements and necessitates more frequent road repair,