Coalition urges more tolls

| November 03, 2011

A coalition of highway construction groups in nearly a dozen states has launched a national campaign to urge Congress to allow states to impose tolls to pay for long-overdue highway improvements.

The U.S. Tolling Coalition says Congress should provide maximum flexibility to states to add tolls to any portion of their interstate or federal highways for reconstruction and rehabilitation.

“17 percent of our interstates and one quarter of our nation’s bridges are structurally deficient,” said Patrick Goss, coalition co-chairman and executive director of the Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association. “With Congress struggling to find the money to meet basic maintenance needs, allowing more tolling will stretch dollars, jumpstart construction projects and create new jobs.”

Under a pilot program, the U.S. Department of Transportation recently allowed Virginia to add tolls along the I-95 corridor in that state to pay for critical rehabilitation and upkeep. Missouri also has been cleared to add tolls. The U.S. Tolling Coalition wants to expand the program nationwide, which requires congressional authorization.

“What’s good for Virginia and Missouri is good for the rest of America,” said Don Shubert, coalition co-chairman and president of the Connecticut Construction Industries Association. “States are confronting accelerating pavement deterioration due to age and high traffic. As a result, American business is hurting, and we need to act now to give states the power to toll.”

Goss and Shubert recently wrote a letter to the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate Transportation Committees. “Tolls are gaining public acceptance as motorists see the benefits of electronic collection systems, as well as the negative impacts of the lost buying power of fuel tax revenues,” they wrote.

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  • Vincent Rinaldi

    As far as adding tolls to the state highways, I can only see that the revenue brought in with new tolls will end up in the general fund and be lost in the system. We in Connecticut all seen that happen in the past. The other thing i’m concerned with is as tolls go up or into efect the truckers are taking a beating because the freight rates have been declining because of the economy, yes we do charge a fuel surcharge but our cost are far more than what the surcharge covers. Repairs, the tolls in the northeast are just out of control. Look at the toll roads in New York they are full of potholes and speed bumps. Maybe we should regulate freight again so the transporters can put extra money into the trucks and promote better safty.