BREAKING NEWS – The Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates has sent a letter to the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) urging the body to oppose the expansion of interstate tolling at the committee’s June 24th bill markup.
The EPW Committee, chaired by Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), has jurisdiction over the Interstate Highway System and is considering expanding tolling on existing interstates. The Committee and Senator Inhofe must reject this unviable idea. Tolling existing interstates would have many harmful effects and diverse unintended consequences. After 17 years and no users this pilot program is a failure and should be thrown out, not expanded so that even more states can waste time and money pursuing this dead-end funding method.
June 18, 2015
Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates
PO Box 20
Richmond, VA 23218
The Honorable Members of the Senate
Environment and Public Works Committee
Washington, DC 20510
We understand that the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee may consider expanding the tolling pilot program known as the Interstate System Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Pilot Program (ISRRPP) during the June 24th markup, and we urge you to reject this idea.
As a coalition of businesses, associations, and individuals with an interest in keeping interstates both well-maintained and affordable, we hope that you recognize that expanding tolling of existing interstates is not a viable method of raising transportation revenue.
In the ISRRPP’s 17 years, no state has successfully tolled an existing interstate, despite concerted efforts by DOTs in the slot-holding states of Virginia, North Carolina, Missouri, and applications from many others. As you know, pilot programs exist to gauge the viability of an idea, and the ISRRPP has proven that tolling existing interstates is not a feasible option. Hence it should be repealed, not expanded.
Tolling existing interstates has many unintended harmful consequences. For this reason, each state that has tried has been met with widespread popular disapproval. First, tolls are very inefficient. Even electronic tolling, which seeks to mitigate this serious deficiency, can eat up to 20 percent of revenue due to toll processing bureaucracies. Tolls are wasteful when compared to something like the fuel tax, which costs 1 percent of collected revenues.
Additionally, many motorists will try to avoid an interstate toll by diverting to secondary roads. This will amount to hundreds of thousands of cars traveling on roads built to lower standards than interstates and not intended to handle high traffic volumes. There will inevitably be more accidents and congestion, slower first-response times, and accelerated road degradation. Higher repair costs will fall to localities, and the road funding challenge will be shifted, not abated.
Lastly, tolling existing interstates will hurt businesses of all sizes by increasing transportation costs and manipulating the market. Consumers will pay more as businesses are forced to pass on costs in the form of higher prices, and businesses located along newly-tolled interstates will suffer, while those on roads that remain toll-free will not. Employees will have difficult choices to make if they have to pay a new toll twice a day as they travel to and from work – this may make working prohibitively expensive for some. Tolls also discriminate against the 17 million American households without bank accounts.
The Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates urges you to reject any measures to expand the ISRRPP during the June 24th hearing and going forward. The pilot program has failed, and the reasonable response to that failure is to eliminate it and move on to more viable revenue generation ideas.
Alabama Trucking Association, Inc.
Alaska Trucking Association, Inc.
American Bakers Association
American Farm Bureau
American Highway Users Alliance
American Motorcyclist Association
American Moving and Storage Association
American Trucking Associations
Arizona Trucking Association
Arkansas Trucking Association
Best Way Express
California Trucking Association
Colorado Motor Carriers Association
Delaware Motor Transport Assoc. Inc.
Florida Trucking Association, Inc.
Georgia Motor Trucking Association, Inc.
Hawaii Transportation Association
Idaho Trucking Association
Illinois Trucking Association, Inc.
Indiana Motor Truck Association, Inc.
International Foodservice Distributors Association
International Franchise Association
Iowa Motor Truck Association, Inc.
Kansas Motor Carriers Association
Kentucky Motor Transport Assoc., Inc
Louisiana Motor Transport Association, Inc.
Maine Motor Transport Association, Inc.
Maryland Motor Truck Association, Inc.
Massachusetts Motor Transp. Assoc., Inc.
Michigan Trucking Association, Inc.
Minnesota Trucking Association
Mississippi Trucking Association
Missouri Trucking Association
Motor Carriers of Montana
Motor Transport Association of CT, Inc.
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
National Motorists Association
National Shippers Strategic Transportation Council (NASSTRAC)
National Tank Truck Carriers
NATSO, representing America’s Truckstops and Travel Plazas
Nebraska Trucking Association
Nevada Trucking Association, Inc.
New Hampshire Motor Transport Assoc.
New Jersey Motor Truck Association
New Mexico Trucking Association
New York State Motor Truck Assn.
No Tolls I-95 Coalition, Inc.
North Carolina Trucking Assoc., Inc.
North Dakota Motor Carriers Assoc., Inc.
Ohio Trucking Association
Oklahoma Trucking Association
Old Dominion Freight Line
Oregon Trucking Associations, Inc.
Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA)
Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association
Rhode Island Trucking Association, Inc.
SIGMA, America’s Leading Fuel Marketers
South Carolina Trucking Assoc., Inc.
South Dakota Trucking Association
Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association
Swift Transportation Inc.
Tennessee Trucking Association
Texas Trucking Association
Tire Industry Association
Truck Renting and Leasing Association
Truckload Carriers Association
Utah Trucking Association
Vermont Truck and Bus Association, Inc.
Virginia Trucking Association
Volvo Group North America
Washington Trucking Associations
West Virginia Trucking Association, Inc.
Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association
Wyoming Trucking Association, Inc.
To learn more about AFTI and join the Alliance please visit www.tollfreeinterstates.com. In addition to joining ATFI you can stay connected by following the Alliance on Twitter at @No2Tolls and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TollFreeInterstates.