The Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates urged members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to reject any amendments to the its multi-year highway bill that would expand the federal tolling pilot program or divert revenue away from the toll road on which it was collected during the Oct. 22 mark up.
The T&I Committee is scheduled to mark up a six-year, $325 billion highway bill known as the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015. STRRA is a companion bill to the Senate's Drive Act passed in July, which includes language that would allow funds collected by tolling an interstate under the tolling program to be spent on completely unrelated projects.
In a letter sent Oct. 20 to members of the House T&I Committee, ATFI, of which NATSO is a founding member, urged the committee to eliminate the tolling pilot program known as the Interstate Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Pilot Project (ISRRPP) entirely. ATFI also unveiled a new video illustrating the failure of the ISRRPP pilot program during its 17 years of testing.
"As amendments to the bill are discussed, the Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates urges you to reject any measures to expand the ISRRPP or divert toll revenue away from the road on which it was collected,” ATFI stated. “The pilot program has failed and the reasonable response to that failure is to eliminate it and move on to more viable revenue generation ideas.”
As drafted, STRRA would amend the ISRRPP to require states to have enabling legislation before a tolling pilot project is approved. Similar to the Senate bill, it also imposes "use it or lose it" rule on state pilot projects, where states have a three-year deadline to obtain tolling approval under the pilot program, after which time the slot could be transferred to another state.
Tolling federal interstates is prohibited under federal law except for three states that hold slots under the ISRRPP pilot program. Missouri, North Carolina and Virginia, which currently hold pilot program slots but have been unable to implement tolls due to strong public opposition, would be given one year to receive approval under the House bill.
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