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Tolling Points

$2.6 Trillion Infrastructure Gap Shows Need to Build Back Better

By: 
Bill Cramer

With the United States facing a massive $2.6 trillion infrastructure funding gap, tolling and other forms of road usage charging will have to be at the center of the country’s plan to Build Back Better, IBTTA said earlier this month, in its response to the 2021 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure issued by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

“ASCE’s latest report card underscores how critical it is to invest in our nation’s infrastructure to emerge much stronger from the pandemic,” said IBTTA President Mark Compton and CEO of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. “We must find a way to pay for our major infrastructure and we know that tolling is a powerful and effective tool to help states do just that.”

The quadrennial report card, first initiated by the Reagan administration before ASCE took it over in the early 1990s, has become a must-read reference in the U.S. infrastructure community, a credible measure of the state of the nation’s built infrastructure—from highways, bridges and transit to broadband, dams, levees and schools. This year’s overall grade for the state of the nation’s infrastructure is a C–. Not the report card you’d want to bring home to your parents but, astonishingly, the highest grade ASCE has ever assigned in its 20 years of reporting.

With a water main breaking somewhere in the United States every two minutes, and 43% of the country’s public roadways in poor or mediocre condition, safety and timely investment are two of the main concerns underlying the ASCE’s analysis. Compton spotlighted both issues in his response to the release.

“The nearly 6,400 miles of tolled roads, tunnels and bridges in America are among the safest in the world,” he said, “precisely because we invest in regular maintenance and capital improvements.”

This year’s report card includes a catalogue of #GameChangers that embody the most successful solutions infrastructure planners and doers have come up with across the major sectors in ASCE’s line of sight. The theme for the section: “Think Big. Build Smart.”

An infrastructure bill on the horizon

With ASCE assigning grades of C to the country’s bridges and D for its road, the Biden administration’s push to address the nation’s infrastructure is looming large as an opportunity to Move America Forward.

“IBTTA is asking the Biden administration, Congress and USDOT to allow states to use tolling to rebuild their interstate highways, advance a national road user charging system and enhance federal financing programs such as the TIFIA program,” IBTTA Executive Director and CEO Patrick Jones said in response to the ASCE report card.

“IBTTA and our members stand ready to work with the Biden administration, Congress and Secretary Buttigieg to Build Back Better by investing in our infrastructure, strengthening our economy and improving the lives of all Americans as we move out of the year-long pandemic.”

Click here to download a copy of IBTTA’s Grassroots Toll Kit.

Newsletter publish date: 
Tuesday, March 16, 2021 - 17:15

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