The Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates, of which NATSO is a founding member, urged Senate lawmakers to reject tolling in any variation or form as a means of funding infrastructure as they develop legislative text for the infrastructure framework announced by the White House and a bipartisan group of Senators.
In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), ATFI said the proposed bipartisan Senate infrastructure framework “includes the misguided approach of using tolling to pay for surface transportation infrastructure through privatizing roads and asset recycling as a means of funding infrastructure.”
The letter was sent as lawmakers quickly work to develop policy and legislative text for the $1.2 trillion infrastructure framework announced in June by President Biden and a bipartisan group of Senators. Lawmakers could put forth legislative text in a matter of days.
ATFI said that any attempt to increase tolling would violate President Biden's pledge not to impose taxes on people earning less than $400,000 per year. Tolls also will worsen surging inflation, damage businesses struggling to reopen, and double tax Americans who already pay for roads through motor fuel taxes as the nation continues to recover from the disastrous economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
ATFI urged the lawmakers to reject tolling in infrastructure policy by eliminating existing interstate tolling pilot programs, limiting toll bridge projects, and further limiting how toll revenue is spent to prevent subsidization of projects that do not benefit toll payers.
“We appreciate how difficult it is to find long-term solutions for improving our nation’s infrastructure, but we are greatly concerned about the potential embrace of tolling in any upcoming infrastructure package,” ATFI wrote. “Expanding tolling of existing interstates is not a viable solution; it is a demonstrably failed idea and an abdication of Congressional responsibility to fund the Interstate Highway System.”
The infrastructure proposal announced June 25 by the White House outlined a variety of potential pay-fors, including public private partnerships, private activity bonds, and asset recycling for infrastructure investment.
NATSO strongly opposes asset recycling, which funds new infrastructure and revitalizes existing infrastructure through the sale or lease of public assets because it could easily lead to tolling and commercial rest areas.
Subscribe to Updates
NATSO provides a breadth of information created to strengthen travel plazas’ ability to meet the needs of the travelling public in an age of disruption. This includes knowledge filled blog posts, articles and publications. If you would like to receive a digest of blog post and articles directly in your inbox, please provide your name, email and the frequency of the updates you want to receive the email digest.