Tolls on the interstate system?

News AASHTO Journal June 17, 2003
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Addressing an audience of highway advocates last week, Rep

Addressing an audience of highway advocates last week, Rep. Mark Kennedy (R-Minn.) sought support for his proposal to allow states and private developers to finance new capacity improvements on interstates using tolls.

The bill is titled the Freeing Alternatives for Speedy Transportation (Act). It is cosponsored by Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.). The bill also has strong backing from Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

The bill would set three restrictions to ensure that the FAST toll lanes are a voluntary, user-choice option including:

* Only non-cash electronic technology can be used to collect fees on the new lanes, and no toll booths are allowed;

* The fees collected on the new lanes must be dedicated to the project for which they were paid; and

* Once the revenues pay off the cost of the expanded interstate section, the toll collection must be discontinued.

"There is a great disparity today between highway revenue and highway need. This creates a new revenue stream, allowing us to solve the serious congestion problems we face in a new way," said Kennedy.

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