A national coalition makes a plea to Congress to lift the ban on building tolls. The grassroots coalition of highway construction groups wants the federal government to give states more flexibility to impose tolls on highways. Groups from nearly a dozen states point to the need for tollways to pay for highway improvements.
U.S. Tolling Coalition Co-Chairman Patrick Goss says “Whether you support or you oppose tolling the interstate system, it’s kind of a moot point right now because we can’t have that debate or discussion in a state like Wisconsin because the federal government does not allow it. So let’s fix that first and then we can decide if we want to have that debate.”
Goss, also Executive Director of the Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association, says “17% of our interstates and one quarter of our nation’s bridges are structurally deficient.” He says the gas tax is not a sustainable revenue source for transportation needs. Currently, new lanes could be tolled if the state approves it, but federal law prohibits states from building tolls on existing lanes on the interstate and some highways.
“We need Congress to say ‘yes, states, we’re gonna lift this ban’ and then Congress is done; they’re out of it. It now becomes a state issue, state by state, whether their leadership wants to move forward with tolling as an option to generate revenues.”
Under a pilot program, the U.S. Department of Transportation recently allowed Virginia and Missouri to add some tolls. Goss says Congress should allow all states to do so.
AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:33