Tolling existing interstates would increase costs for consumer goods while diminishing the amount of money collected for infrastructure projects, Rex Davis, president of Melivn L. Davis Oil, said during a recent radio interview.
Speaking with Dave Nemo on Sirius XM’s Dave Nemo Show, Davis criticized tolling advocates for promoting a less-efficient means of collecting highway funds.
“It doesn’t make sense to me as a business person why when you have a system that is 99 percent efficient – and that’s the fuel tax system -- why you would deviate from that course to a system that is less than that,” Davis said.
Davis is also on the Board of Directors of the Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates (ATFI), of which NATSO is a founding member.
Davis said because tolls are costly to administer, just 63 cents of every dollar collected goes toward highway projects. That compares with 97 cents out of every dollar collected under the current fuel-tax system.
Davis added that tolls would put his business at a competitive disadvantage by increasing costs for consumer goods like groceries while also forcing him to increase wages for employees who would be forced to pay the toll to come to work.
“We have no tolerance for placing tolls on existing highways. It’s something that we don’t want any part of,” Davis said. “When you take an existing highway that users have been paying for through their fuel taxes whenever they stop to buy gasoline or diesel fuel, those taxes go to maintain that road. We really feel strongly that it’s just a breach of the public trust to go back then and say, ‘well we don’t have the funds to maintain these now, so we need to create additional funds to maintain those same highways that you’ve been driving on.’ It’s really not something that we are in favor of at all on existing highways.”
Listen to the full interview here.
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