National alliance forms to keep existing interstates toll-free

- Broad coalition of businesses and individuals partner to fight attempts to toll existing, non-tolled interstate lanes -

Richmond, VA – Businesses and organizations from numerous sectors of the U.S. economy, as well as individual citizens, today launched a national coalition opposing tolls on existing federal interstates. The Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates (ATFI) is a broad-based organization united by the belief that a viable, sustainable solution to America’s transportation funding needs must not include putting new tolls on existing interstates. ATFI is focused on educating the public and policymakers about the negative impact that tolling existing interstates will have on citizens, businesses, and the U.S. economy. As part of the announcement, ATFI released a video explaining the Alliance and the consequences of placing tolls on existing interstates.

ATFI is composed of associations representing restaurants, trucking companies, truckstops and travel plazas as well as the moving & storage industry, vehicle rental industry, motorists, and motorcyclists. The growing Alliance also has many companies and individual citizen members who oppose tolls.

Many businesses are concerned that tolls on existing interstates will impact their bottom line, especially establishments that serve customers traveling the interstate. “Since its inception, The Federal Interstate Highway System has facilitated unrestricted commerce and travel throughout the country. It is vital to the U.S. supply chain and has revolutionized the way America does business. Tolling existing interstates would reverse this progress, raising costs for travelers, businesses, and consumers, and harming the many businesses and communities located along interstate routes subject to new tolls,” said Jay Perron, ATFI member and Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Policy for the International Franchise Association.

Logistics companies such as Old Dominion Freight Line are also concerned about the increased business cost of tolling existing interstate lanes. Bill Cranfill, General Counsel for Old Dominion Freight Line and member of ATFI, said, “The creation of the federal highway system opened an avenue of commerce never before seen in the U.S. This concept of unrestricted movement is a pillar of the modern economy. We support increased funding for highways but oppose tolls on current federal interstate capacity. Tolls are an inefficient method of funding, would increase the cost of moving goods, and would decrease efficiency by pushing interstate traffic onto less safe and slower local roads.”

While federal law prohibits tolls on existing Interstate highway lanes, a federal pilot program allows three states to place tolls on existing lanes within their borders.

Since the program was created, numerous states have spent millions of dollars seeking Federal Highway Administration approval . But due to public opposition, among other reasons, not one state has implemented tolling under the program. ATFI is calling on Congress to repeal the pilot program.

With Congress debating long-term transportation funding and states looking for additional revenue, the tolling industry is pressuring lawmakers to open existing federal interstate capacity to tolls.

Numerous studies analyzing the impacts of tolling existing interstate lanes have found that tolls create significant traffic diversion onto secondary roads, carry an astronomically high cost to administer and hurt the local and regional economies surrounding the toll facilities.

President Obama’s announcement yesterday brought the transportation funding debate to center-stage and demonstrated that there are many options being discussed. Hayes Framme, spokesman for ATFI stated, “We know that Congress must find funding to meet our transportation infrastructure challenges. However, time and again, tolls have proven to be an unreliable, expensive, and inefficient means of generating revenue for roads.”

ATFI currently has over 100 members nationwide including:

  • American Motorcycle Association
  • American Trucking Associations
  • FedEx
  • International Franchise Association
  • McDonald’s
  • Moving and Storage Association
  • National Motorists Association
  • National Council of Chain Restaurants
  • Old Dominion Freight Line
  • Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association
  • Truck Renting and Leasing Association
  • Truckload Carriers Association
  • UPS