WASHINGTON, D.C. – The International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA), the worldwide association representing toll facility owners and operators and businesses that serve them, and the Alliance For Toll-Free Interstates, made up of individuals, businesses and organizations that aim to educate the general public, law makers and media outlets on the negative impacts of tolling on existing roadways, have each released statements regarding the letter from U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Anthony Foxx and 11 former DOT Secretaries that supported a call for Congress to find consensus on a long-term solution to funding our nation’s infrastructure.
The nation’s current and former transportation chiefs released a joint letter yesterday calling for long-term action.
Patrick D. Jones, Executive Director and CEO of IBTTA, released the following statement:
“The joint letter released yesterday by our nation’s transportation chiefs is a profile in courage and should serve as an example of how public servants from all stripes and backgrounds can come together for the good of our country’s future. No one solution will serve as the silver bullet to fix our nation’s sagging roads, highways and bridges. We need many good ideas and consensus across the political aisle to achieve a long-term plan that adequately funds our country’s transportation system and gives states the flexibility they need to address their unique challenges.
“From the gutsy proposal by Senators Murphy and Corker to increase the federal gasoline and diesel taxes to keep the federal Highway Trust Fund from going broke, to the Obama Administration’s historic proposal to lift the ban on interstate tolling to help states reconstruct their interstate highways, all viable options should receive full consideration.
“We look forward to working with both Houses of Congress and the Obama Administration to forge a long-term transportation plan that promotes safety and productivity on our highways and provides a sustainable, predictable, long-term source of funding for the federal highway program.”
Members of The Alliance For Toll-Free Interstates said they believe that maintaining a world-class interstate system is of paramount importance to our quality of life and our economy, and commend the current and former transportation secretaries for pushing for long-term, sustainable solutions to replenish the federal Highway Trust Fund rather than stopgap measures.
“While Monday’s letter from Secretary Anthony Foxx and 11 former transportation secretaries is a reminder of the need for compromise on this critical issue, it is not an endorsement of the widely-panned White House proposal to broaden states’ authority to place new tolls on existing interstates, despite attempts by a pro-tolling group to portray the letter as such,” said ATFI spokesman Julian Walker.
“The transportation secretaries make it clear in their letter, which never uses the word toll, that they differ on the right solutions but agree that short-term measures do little to fix the nation’s transportation funding shortfalls. We couldn’t agree more.
Nevertheless, a group of tolling interests opportunistically takes the letter as a chance to tout so-called ‘bold and gutsy’ funding solutions such as ‘lifting the ban on interstate tolling.’
“Removing longstanding barriers to interstate tolling isn’t gutsy,” Walker continued. “To the contrary, it’s a cowardly, pass the buck idea presented by the president that has found no traction in Congress and has been rejected time and again by states.
“Over the years, no state has successfully tolled an existing interstate through the federal pilot program authorizing such tolling. If history is any indication, not one dollar will be raised to improve our infrastructure through that flawed approach.
The Alliance For Toll-Free Interstates is in favor of finding a long-term solution to pay for interstates, but not one that comes at the expense of commuters, families and businesses. Tolling existing interstates would burden these stakeholders with heavy costs, causing harmful economic ripple effects in their communities.”