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Tolling Points

Learn What's Next in Washington at IBTTA and AASHTO's Infrastructure Week Webinar

By: 
Bill Cramer

When a community like transportation declares an annual event like Infrastructure Week, the challenge is always to keep up the momentum, to make each year’s program even more compelling, topical, and edgy than the last.

And when the subject matter is as important as the physical infrastructure that every household, business, and community depends on every day, the pressure is on to educate, tell a story that will advance the agenda and help deliver the funding and program support the country needs.

That’s why IBTTA and AASHTO have decided to work together to organize a webinar: The State of Highway Investment: Plans, Promises and Predictions on Tuesday, May 15. Executive Director and CEO Pat Jones and Jim Tymon, Chief Operating Officer of the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO), will be joined by Weifeng Zhong, Research Fellow, Economic Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, to look at the current state of play on infrastructure investment and the shifts that are likely in the future.

A Window on Washington

Jim Tymon has a unique window on the way infrastructure policy is made in Washington, DC. Before joining AASHTO, he served as staff director to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and senior advisor to Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA). At a time when Congress and the White House are actively seeking common ground on what could yet be an ambitious federal infrastructure initiative, Tymon will have a sense of what’s likely to happen in the months remaining before mid-term elections this fall.

In a March 2 op ed for The Hill, Weifeng Zhong made the stark case that legislators face a choice between tolls and potholes, noting that the White House was proposing to lift the long-standing ban on tolling existing interstate highways to fund their maintenance or expansion.

“While states would be making their own decisions, charging tolls could generate considerable funding,” he wrote. “Increasing the use of tolls, even if only to 50% of existing revenues, would mean more than $100 billion in new funds.”

A Tool in the Toolbox

For IBTTA, Infrastructure Week has always been about elevating the influence of the entire surface transportation community, while highlighting tolling as one essential tool in the funding toolbox.

“We say it every year,” Jones said. “There’s an urgent need to bring our country’s highways, bridges, and tunnels up to a state of good repair. It’s a big, essential, expensive job. To get it done, we should be deploying every reliable funding source at our disposal. And that means clearing the obstacles for state and local governments to use tolling when it’s the right solution for the projects on their priority lists.”

Sign up today for IBTTA’s Infrastructure Week webinar on The State of Highway Investment: Plans, Promises and Predictions, May 15 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 noon Eastern Time.

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