The Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates (ATFI) is working to ensure Congress does not implement a plan to expand the number of tolls on the nation’s interstates. We want to encourage all MTAC members to reach out to members of the U.S. House of Representatives Transportations and Infrastructure Committee and let them know you do not want the committee to take any steps to make tolling existing interstates easier.
Here is the full message sent by the ATFI group yesterday.
URGENT THREAT – INTERSTATE TOLLING EXPANSION
ATFI has learned that the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee (T&I), which has jurisdiction over the Interstate Highway System in the House, is considering expanding interstate tolling in its upcoming Highway Reauthorization Bill, likely to be released later this week. You remember that, last June, your emails helped minimize tolling expansion in the Senate’s bill – let’s repeat our success with the House! Please join us in urging the T&I Committee members to protect our existing interstates from the burden of new tolls.
Over the past seventeen years, the Interstate Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Pilot Program (ISRRPP) has served its purpose and demonstrated the unviability of tolling existing interstates. Over the years, six states have pursued tolls via the ISRRPP, and each effort failed due primarily to widespread public outcry over tolling’s negative consequences, which in some cases even triggered state legislative action to protect interstates from tolls. Pilot programs are meant to be temporary. Approaching twenty years in age, the ISRRPP has run its course and should be repealed, not expanded or made more flexible.
We all know that tolling existing interstates would have serious negative consequences. Businesses would face higher operating expenses and, where possible, seek to pass on those costs on to consumers. Commuters and travelers would face steep cost increases and hourly employees might have to work an extra hour per day just to pay the toll to and from work. Traffic diversion around tolls onto secondary routes would cause congestion, increased accidents, higher road-wear and repair costs for local governments, and slower first response times. The cost to drive will be dramatically higher.
Additionally, our Founding Fathers gave Congress the responsibility to regulate commerce; this now includes funding and maintaining the Interstate Highway System, and passing the buck to states is an abdication of duty and violates the spirit of the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause. It may be politically expedient to frame it as a “states’ rights” issue, but this ignores the safety, equity, and interstate commerce implications. Most importantly, it will not solve the highway funding problem.
Please take action by sending an email to Representative Shuster and the House T&I Committee – it only takes 15 seconds and your voice could save the interstate from new tolls.