NATSO along with the Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates has learned that the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW), which has jurisdiction over the Interstate Highway System, is considering expanding tolling on existing Interstates during the June 24 markup of a long-term transportation bill.
NATSO has sent an alert to members in states with legislators serving on the EPW Committee asking them to tell lawmakers that expanding tolling of existing interstates is not a viable method of raising transportation revenue.
Not all Senators serve are on the EPW Committee where these provisions are currently being drafted, but operators can still show their support by signing the Alliance for Toll Free Interstate's petition at http://www.tollfreeinterstates.com/. You will receive updates and be notified on future opportunities to contact your elected officials.
Congress has worked to add tolls to existing interstates through the Interstate Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Pilot Program, which has three slots. NATSO has learned that the new language is looking to increase that number to five.
States that have tried to implement tolling under the ISRRPP have met with widespread disapproval because tolling has many unintended harmful consequences.
Tolls create safety and congestion concerns as cars divert onto secondary roads, which amounts to hundreds of thousands of cars traveling on roads built to lower standards than interstates and not intended to handle high traffic volumes. There will inevitably be more accidents and congestion, slower first-response times and accelerated road degradation. Higher repair costs will fall to localities, and the road funding challenge will be shifted, not abated.
Tolls also carry high administrative fees, delivering less money for infrastructure, and harm businesses by forcing them to pass on higher costs to customers.
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