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Remove Barriers to Tolling, IBTTA Tells U.S. House Committee

By: 
Bill Cramer

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Congress should put a full range of transportation funding options on the table by removing barriers to tolling and pricing, IBTTA told the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee at a January 14 hearing.

In written testimony to the hearing, the first in a series that will look into the 2014 Surface Transportation Reauthorization, IBTTA asked that states “be given maximum flexibility to meet their individual transportation funding challenges—including through the use of tolling on existing Interstate System routes.”

$10 Billion in Annual Revenue

Most of IBTTA’s 62 members in the U.S. receive no federal or state funds to support day-to-day operations. Together, they generate more than $10 billion per year in toll revenue, nearly a third the level of federal gas tax revenues.

With the wide and growing use of electronic toll collection, “today’s toll agencies are extremely productive and efficient in their ability to generate revenues,” while delivering value to customers through high service levels, reliability, and a wider choice of mobility options.

A Resurgence in Toll Financing

The testimony stressed that tolling is one important tool in a wider toolbox of transportation funding options.

“We are not suggesting that tolls and pricing are appropriate for all transportation projects,” IBTTA stated. “But tolls can be an important solution in certain states, for certain projects.”

Already, with gas tax revenues eroding and the infrastructure finance crisis deepening, the last year has seen “a resurgence in toll financing to support new construction projects sponsored by state, county, and local governments,” IBTTA wrote. “Granting states the ability to consider tolling of the existing Interstate System is even more critical now, when federal and state revenues remain limited and major highway, bridge, and tunnel infrastructure is in need of repair.”

The testimony concluded: “Funding today’s transportation system requires many solutions. Everything should be on the table for states and local governments to decide the optimum funding solutions.”

More Hearings Ahead

In his opening statement to the hearing, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) called for close cooperation to make the 2014 reauthorization bill a reality.

“The next bill must ensure that our surface transportation system can continue to support the U.S. economy and provide Americans with a good quality of life,” he said. To get that job done, “this bill needs to be a bipartisan effort. We need to build consensus and work together.”

Rep. Shuster said the committee will hold a series of hearings and roundtable discussions in the months ahead, with the hope of tabling a bill in the House of Representatives before its August recess.

For more on the 2014 transportation reauthorization, visit the Moving America Forward page on the IBTTA website.