By Land Line Magazine
The Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates, which includes trucking members, is calling on the U.S. House of Representatives to flat-out reject a proposal that would expand states’ rights to toll interstate highways.
The alliance says to look no further than an existing but unpopular pilot program that allows a small number of toll-free interstates to be converted into toll roads.
The alliance, ATFI, issued a call to action on Tuesday, Sept. 8, calling on members to ask their representatives to vote no on expanding interstate tolling in the upcoming highway bill.
“ATFI has learned that the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Interstate Highway System in the House, is considering expanding interstate tolling in its upcoming Highway Reauthorization Bill, likely to be released later this week,” the group stated.
“You remember that, last June, your emails helped minimize tolling expansion in the Senate’s bill. Let’s repeat our success with the House! Please join us in urging the T&I Committee members to protect our existing interstates from the burden of new tolls.”
ATFI says that over the past 17 years, the existing Interstate Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Pilot Program (ISRRPP) has “demonstrated the unviability of tolling existing interstates.”
The group says that each of the six states have failed to make the conversion due primarily to widespread public outcry over tolling’s negative consequences. Some states have even fought back with their own legislation to protect interstates from tolls, the group adds.
The proposal in the House would make the pilot program permanent and potentially expand the number of slots available.
“We all know that tolling existing interstates would have serious negative consequences,” ATFI stated in its call to action.
“Businesses would face higher operating expenses and, where possible, seek to pass on those costs on to consumers. Commuters and travelers would face steep cost increases, and hourly employees might have to work an extra hour per day just to pay the toll to and from work.”
Then, there’s a matter of safety and congestion.
“Traffic diversion around tolls onto secondary routes would cause congestion, increased accidents, higher road-wear and repair costs for local governments, and slower first response times. The cost to drive will be dramatically higher,” ATFI stated.
The group urges members to contact T&I Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa. and other members of the committee.