Highway Coalition Urges Highway Bill Conferees to Limit Tolling and Public-Private Partnerships

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Americans for a Strong National Highway Network (ASNHN), of which NATSO is a member, urged the conference committee charged with working out the differences between the House and Senate transportation bills to maintain provisions that seek to limit the expansion of tolling and public-private partnerships (P3s).

In a letter addressed to Sen. Barbara Boxer, (D-Calif.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, and Rep. John Mica, (R-Fla.), Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure, ASNHN asked conferees to include reasonable measures in the transportation reauthorization to protect interstate commerce and travel.

Specifically, the Senate's highway bill, MAP-21, removes from a state’s federal funding formula half the lane miles that have been leased or sold to a private operator, and half the miles traveled on those lanes. States that remove highways from their balance sheet through long-term lease agreements and with it the cost of maintaining those roads should have those costs covered through the lease terms, ASNHN said.

MAP-21 also increases the depreciation period for a leased highway from 15 years to 45 years. Short depreciation periods for P3s are largely responsible for the dramatic lengths of leases in the United States, resulting in a U.S. norm of 75 or 99 year lease agreements.

House bill H.R. 7, meanwhile, instructs the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to develop best practices on how the interests of the traveling public and state and local governments are protected in P3 agreements. The bill also instructs USDOT to develop standard P3 transaction model contracts for states, public transportation agencies, and other public officials to utilize.

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This article originally ran in NATSO News Weekly (NNW), NATSO's member only weekly electronic newsletter. NNW is packed with the latest updates on government and business issues affecting the truckstop and travel plaza industry.

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