The Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates submitted the below letter to the committee conferees who will be resolving differences between the Senate DRIVE Act and House STRR Act between now and the Dec. 4 deadline to pass a long-term highway and transit reauthorization bill. As you'll see in the letter, ATFI feels strongly about language in the two bills regarding the Interstate System Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Pilot Program (ISRRPP) which could be used to impose tolls on existing, currently free interstates in the U.S.
November 16, 2015
Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates
PO Box 20
Richmond, VA 23218
Dear House and Senate Conferees,
As you debate a compromise between the DRIVE Act and the STRR Act, the Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates would like to encourage careful consideration of how changes to the Interstate System Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Pilot Program (ISRRPP) will impact businesses, localities, and highway users throughout the nation. We strongly prefer the language of the House’s STRR Act regarding the ISRRPP and hope that you will adopt it instead of the language in the Senate’s DRIVE Act.
We are glad that both chambers listened to their constituents’ vocal opposition to expanding the number of slots in the ISRRPP. The pilot has been tried many times to no avail, proving the unviability of tolling existing interstates as a transportation funding method. If anything, it should be repealed, not expanded, because it is not the right tool for the job.
However, we have serious concerns about the DRIVE Act’s changes to the ISRRPP. One significant change would allow toll revenue collected on a particular interstate to be diverted away from that interstate and spent on unrelated projects. This is a perversion of the very purpose of the ISRRPP, which is supposed to fund the maintenance of an interstate using tolls collected on that particular road. Making toll revenue fungible would be a violation of public trust and fundamentally erase any reasonable justification for the ISRRPP’s existence.
Furthermore, the DRIVE Act would reduce public input and USDOT discretion in the approval of tolling projects. Existing law states that the Secretary may approve a state’s application only if the Secretary determines that the state meets certain criteria. The DRIVE Act replaces this with a requirement that a proposal must be approved as long as the state’s application satisfies a list of specified criteria. The effect is twofold: first, it likely weakens the public’s ability to challenge USDOT’s approval of an application; second, it constrains the Secretary’s freedom to discerningly reject a state’s proposal.
By contrast, the House’s STRR Act does not contain the previously mentioned detrimental changes to the ISRRPP, and also requires state legislatures to pass enabling legislation prior to that state acquiring a tolling pilot slot, allowing for more public input. Because of this, the STRR Act’s language regarding the ISRRPP is preferable and we encourage you to adopt it in lieu of the DRIVE Act’s language on this matter.
Thank you for working to fund and maintain America’s vital infrastructure.
Alabama Trucking Association, Inc.
Alaska Trucking Association, Inc.
American Bakers Association
American Farm Bureau Federation
American Highway Users Alliance
American Motorcyclist Association
American Moving and Storage Association
American Trucking Associations
Arizona Trucking Association
Arkansas Trucking Association
Best Way Express
Burger King Corporation
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 Association of Convenience Stores
National Council of Chain Restaurants
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, Inc.
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
Tennessee Trucking Association
Texas Trucking Association
Tire Industry Association
Transportation Intermediaries 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 with the Alliance on Twitter at @No2Tolls and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TollFreeInterstates.