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Tolling Points

'Who Are You Going to Call?' IBTTA Finance Summit Meets a Crucial Need

By: 
Bill Cramer

Every so often, a conference takes place at precisely the moment when the whole world seems to be paying attention. That’s what’s been happening in the weeks leading up to IBTTA’s Summit on Finance & Policy, July 22-24, 2018 in Portland, OR.

“Finance and policy have been at the center of everything we do and talk about for as long as I can remember,” says IBTTA Executive Director and CEO Patrick Jones. “But it’s no surprise that the rest of the transportation and policy community is having the same conversation now. Everyone needs reliable mobility. Almost every jurisdiction is short on funds to deliver on that need.

“So who are you going to call?”

States and Localities Join the Party

One of the big underlying messages behind this year’s summit is that everyone is jumping onboard—and everyone is welcome.

“As fuel tax revenues decline, many states and localities are considering tolling to deliver needed transportation infrastructure improvements,” the program states. The big question for tolling veterans is a crucial one: “How can we help them dip their toe in the tolling waters?” A general session moderated by co-Chief Meeting Organizer Allison C. de Cerreño, Ph.D of The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will include a 101 introduction to toll revenue financing, plus presentations on public-private partnership (P3) models and methods of calculating social and financial benefits from alternative project financing and delivery strategies.

After that, participants will be treated to a deep dive on one of the biggest opportunities to hit the U.S. tolling community in at least a generation—the realistic possibility that the federal government will lift the ban on tolling existing interstate highway capacity for purposes of its reconstruction.

“America is in danger of losing one of its most valuable public assets—the interstate highway system,” the program notes. “Considering declining fuel tax revenues, deferred maintenance, and scant state budgets, America needs a massive new revenue stream to save the crumbling interstates.”

But recently, the U.S. has seen growing bipartisan support for adding interstate tolling to the toolbox of highway funding and financing options. The session will look at what states from Georgia to Oregon are already doing to tap into that potential.

New Options, New Technologies

By attending the Summit in Portland, participants will be introduced to a community that has been at the forefront of road usage charging. A general session on the first afternoon of the summit, led by co-Chief Meeting Organizer James Whitty of D’Artagnan Consulting, LLP, will share the lessons learned from that experience, from the basic need for a financing system that works around energy efficiency improvements in the general fleet, to the intricacies of back office and enforcement operations in an RUC system.

Other sessions will dig into a host of new, technology-driven innovations, from connected and autonomous vehicles, to approaches to tolling-as-a-service that could put tolling agencies in the position of collecting revenue for other entities.

A Community of Senior Professionals

The best conversations at IBTTA conferences always happen in the hallways between sessions. In recent years, the association’s annual finance summit has become a touchpoint for the most senior executives in the business.

When the conference convened in New Jersey in 2017, 69% of the participants were senior management, and another 27% were mid-level or administrative professionals—meaning that everyone received a level of strategic insight and education that was second to none. If you missed out on that experience or want to build upon your knowledge and contacts, Portland is the place to be.

Register now for IBTTA’s Summit on Finance & Policy, July 22-24, 2018 in Portland, OR.

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