The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has concluded the final round of 2006 grant awards to states to explore a variety of driver-fee approaches to reducing congestion, bringing the total amount in grants close to $8 million for 12 different projects in six states.
As part of the projects, the Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority will look at ways to combine highway and transit pricing strategies and Illinois will study the effect of pricing on how drivers choose their routes in the Chicago area. Florida will examine car-share use when prices fluctuate and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will upgrade E-Z Pass electronic-tolling technology to allow toll rates to vary in both directions. King County, Wash., will conduct a field test to determine if driving patterns change when insurance fees are based on usage.
"We all know that relieving congestion, and helping drivers avoid congested areas, is important to our quality of life and vital to keeping our economy moving in the right direction," J. Richard Capka, FHWA administrator, said.
Capka added that the projects are all in line with the department's national strategy to reduce congestion that calls for more innovative strategies to provide congestion relief to travelers.
The successful Value Pricing Pilot Program, which provides these grants, is continued at $59 million through 2009 under the surface transportation law signed by President Bush in August 2005. The administration's recently released budget request for fiscal year 2008 calls for an additional $100 million for the program.