Saturday, June 30, 2012

Southeastern U.S. Politicians and Bureaucrats Debate Tolls For Highway Funding

North Carolina Transportation Secretary Gene Conti says “Tolling is a fact of life for new construction,” when he speaks about his state’s $4 billion proposal to impose tolls all the way along its 182 miles of Interstate 95 during the expansion and reconstruction of this most critical roadway across his state. At the same time, North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis is telling truckers, “They’re not going to toll I-95,” as he promotes legislation to preclude the tolling concept, despite the state’s need for investing between half a billion dollars and one billion dollars a year in new road construction for the next 20 years.

In Florida, meanwhile, Transportation Secretary Anath Prasad is crisscrossing his state telling news organizations that “The way we’re funding infrastructure now is not sustainable,” and that all new interstate highway capacity in his state will need to be funded by means of tolls. Florida, however, is adding a new twist to tolling – “managed lanes” which will be built by a public/private partnership and which will charge tolls that vary with the degree of traffic congestion. The biggest proposal for managed lane toll installation is a $2 billion, 20 mile rebuild of Orlando’s Interstate 4.

Whatever the ultimate resolution of the toll highway debate, one thing is clear: somebody has to find a new revenue source to replace motor fuel tax revenues which continue to decline both because of fewer driving miles and greater vehicle fuel efficiency, and find it before the 27 month Highway Trust Fund extension passed yesterday expires.

blog comments powered by Disqus