By Overdrive Magazine - Todd Dills
The U.S. Congress’ House of Representatives’ long-term highway bill draft introduced last week followed the Senate’s “DRIVE Act” draft legislation, introduced this summer, in making it somewhat easier for states to toll existing interstates as an alternative to traditional funding mechanisms for highway expansion and maintenance.
Unlike the Senate version, however, says the Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates, the House version contains key differences that make it more palatable to the organization, a coalition of groups generally opposing tolls in favor of maintaining the fuel tax as the primary interstate highway funding mechanism in the United States.
“ATFI applauds the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for proposing a multi-year highway funding bill,” the organization said in a press release. October 29 is the deadline for both Houses of Congress to either pass a long-term bill or, again, extend current funding through a shorter-term measure. The House’s proposed “Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015” would extend the three-state-limited Interstate System Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Pilot Program (ISRRPP) for tolling existing interstates, in place with limited results since 1998.