Anti-Tolling Group Applauds Long-Term House Highway Funding Bill Proposal

By Fleet News Daily

A group that is decidedly opposed to interstate tolling, the Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates (ATFI), has applauded the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for proposing a multi-year highway funding bill, the “Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015,” before the October 29 expiration of surface transportation programs across the nation.

While ATFI urges the committee to eliminate the Interstate System Reconstruction & Rehabilitation Pilot Program(ISRRPP) entirely, ATFI “commends the House for taking into account its constituents’ vocal opposition to tolling existing interstates.”

The House bill does not expand the number of states eligible to impose new tolls under the tolling pilot program, nor does it allow funds collected through tolls to be diverted to other purposes.

The bill draft changes the ISRRPP in two ways, the group noted. “It would require states to have enabling legislation before the pilot is approved, and it imposes a 3-year deadline for approval before the slot can be transferred to another state.”

Unlike the Senate’s DRIVE Act put forward in July, the House’s bill draft does not include language that would allow the diversion of funds collected through tolls for purposes other than improvements to that road.

The group further noted that “because tolls are generally upheld as a ‘user fee’ for the roads traveled, diverting these funds away from infrastructure improvements is a violation of the public trust.”