- THE MAGAZINE
As Congress looks ahead to the reauthorization of surface transportation legislation, the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA), the worldwide association representing toll facility owners and operators and the businesses that serve them, is calling on Congress to grant states the “maximum flexibility to meet their individual transportation funding challenges.”
In conjunction with the Jan. 14, 2014, U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure committee hearing entitled, “Building the Foundation for Surface Transportation Reauthorization,” IBTTA submitted written testimony for the record. The organization began with thanking Congress for “beginning the hard-work of passing a successor to the MAP-21 legislation and advocating for an advanced role for tolling in funding our nation’s transportation infrastructure.”
According to IBTTA’s written testimony:
Most of the more than 62 U.S. toll agency members of IBTTA receive no federal or state funds to support their day-to-day operations – yet, on an annual basis, they generate more than $10 billion in tolls. That is equal to nearly one-third of the federal gas tax revenues collected each year.” Without those toll revenues, states would have to go without the vital road, bridge and tunnel infrastructures that those tolls support, including some of the most heavily traveled highways, bridges and tunnels in the country.
As Congress begins the difficult task of finding a long-term solution to funding our nation’s infrastructure, we want federal and state officials to know that the tolling community stands ready to assist in helping meet that challenge and recommend solutions and outcomes,” said Patrick D. Jones, executive director and CEO of IBTTA. “Throughout the 2014 transportation reauthorization debate, the tolling community and our partners will continue to stress the important role tolling has played, and will continue to play, in helping states throughout the country meet their transportation funding needs.
The written testimony continues:
The use of tolls is a central component to this nation’s transportation funding system. Tolls establish a direct connection between the use of the road and payment for that use. For too long, motorists have falsely believed our roads are free. Our highways are not free nor have they ever been. However, it’s easy to see why that misperception persists. There is no direct link between paying the fuel tax and using the roads it funds. Tolling re-establishes that connection.