January 19, 2018

WE ARE ALL NEOCONOMIST NOW:

More States Turning To Toll Roads To Raise Cash For Infrastructure (David Schaper, 1/18/18, NPR: All things Considered)

"I think 2018 is going to be a very good year for tolling," says Pat Jones, executive director of the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association, which represents toll facility owners and operators.

"We're seeing a number of states that do not currently have tolls express an interest in doing so. States like Connecticut, Michigan, Wyoming and others," Jones says.

And some states are beyond considering it. New toll roads or toll lanes are opening this year in Texas, Colorado, Florida, North Carolina and Virginia. Oregon will be adding congestion pricing to highways to help manage congestion in and around Portland later this year.

Austin, Texas, has two new toll road projects slated to open next year and the highway tunnel beneath Seattle begins charging tolls in 2019.

And rates on many existing toll roads and bridges around the country went up on the first of the year, including on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, on the Triangle Expressway in Raleigh, N.C., and for the tunnels in Hampton Roads, Va., while voters in the San Francisco area may be asked later this year to raise tolls on bay area bridges.

The reason for this surge? Many states' transportation budgets are tight and highway funding from Washington is lacking: the federal highway trust fund is nearly insolvent, as the federal gas tax hasn't been increased in 24 years.

"So states are in many cases on their own," Jones says. "They are looking for revenues and tolling is a powerful and effective way and a very specific way to pay for new infrastructure as well as generate funds to pay for existing infrastructure."

Posted by at January 19, 2018 6:58 PM

  

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