A coalition of organizations is asking state and local governments to consider tolling when they plan a new road or road reconstruction project. The group says deteriorating roads and a lack of funding to keep them maintained prompted their action.
At a Nov. 15 press conference, the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association and its partners urged transportation policy makers and elected officials to do the following as well:
· Include tolling as an option when they consider road projects that may be several years off to determine if the funding method would allow them to accelerate those projects
· If they determine tolling is not appropriate, provide a public explanation as to why that is the case
“Roads have become a lower priority than they should be,” said Patrick Jones, executive director of IBTTA. “The time has come for all levels of government to acknowledge they don’t have the resources they need to build, maintain and upgrade America’s roads.”
Jones said tolling provides an effective and politically acceptable way to address the United States’ infrastructure needs. Tolling ensures motorists get the roads they need and those who use the roads are the ones who pay for them, he said.
Currently, there are 5,244 miles of toll roads in 35 states. Many of these states are expanding existing toll programs, according to IBTTA. A recent study by the National Chamber Foundation, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said there is a $50 billion gap between available transportation funding and the amount needed to maintain highway and transit networks in their current condition through 2030.