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Tolling Points

Let’s Get to Work…For Our Journey is not Complete

On a cool, clear morning, President Barack Obama began his second term today by invoking the sacrifice and determination of our ancestors and urging the current generation of Americans to work together to build a future of limitless possibilities.

Several lines from his inaugural address reverberate with me as I contemplate the great work we must do, together, to rebuild our roads, bridges and tunnels that will help strengthen America in a competitive global economy.

“No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation and one people.”

The President underscored the need to look at old problems in new ways, to be willing to let go of programs that worked in the past but have outlived their usefulness.

“We understand that outworn programs are inadequate to the needs of our time. So we must harness new ideas and technology to remake our government, revamp our tax code, reform our schools, and empower our citizens with the skills they need to work harder, learn more, reach higher.”

Those words reminded me that we in the tolling industry possess the ideas and technologies – the tools in the toolbox – to provide a sustainable source of funding to rebuild and remake our surface transportation infrastructure.

Waxing poetic, the President urged that “It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete…For now decisions are upon us and we cannot afford delay…We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect. We must act, knowing that today’s victories will be only partial and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years and 40 years and 400 years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall.”

Speaking after the President, poet Richard Blanco also invoked the theme of togetherness that will be required to accomplish the great work that lies ahead of us:
“My face, your face, millions of faces in morning’s mirrors,
each one yawning to life, crescendoing into our day:
pencil-yellow school buses, the rhythm of traffic lights,
fruit stands: apples, limes, and oranges arrayed like rainbows
begging our praise. Silver trucks heavy with oil or paper—
bricks or milk, teeming over highways alongside us,
on our way to clean tables, read ledgers, or save lives…”
Inauguration Day is a time for pomp and splendor, a moment of hope and possibility. But it is also a call to action. We in the tolling industry stand ready to serve with the ideas, technologies and proven financing options that must be part of any realistic solution to the funding challenges confronting our highway system.

We should all take a few moments to celebrate this inauguration, a new beginning for all of us…but then, let’s get to work.

IBTTA’s Moving America Forward campaign is in full swing, and we’ll all do better if we move forward together.


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