Anti-Tolling Alliance Efforts Underway
The Truck Renting and Leasing Association (TRALA) is urging its interested members to support the Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates (ATFI), an organization of which TRALA is already a member. TRALA members can visit the alliance's website at http://www.tollfreeinterstates.com/ to join the multi-industry coalition of businesses and organizations that are advocating for solving the nation's growing transportation needs without adding new tolls to existing interstates. The ATFI argues that tolling existing interstates amounts to double taxation, since interstates that were built and maintained using fuel tax revenue would now also be subject to new tolls. Tolls also create traffic diversions from major highways to secondary roads because operators of small passenger cars and commercial truck drivers alike want to avoid increased transportation costs.
Federal law prohibits the tolling of existing interstate highways, save for interstate segments that pre-date the establishment of the Interstate System in 1956, which were "grandfathered" to be excluded from the tolling prohibition. In 1998, Congress created a pilot project that allows up to three states to toll existing interstates. All three pilot spots are currently held by three states, however the states have not moved forward with implementation of the pilot projects due to fierce opposition from the trucking industry, the broader business community, and even the states' residents. New legislation introduced by Senators Kirk (R-IL) and Warner (D-VA) would expand the size of the pilot project to allow up to ten states to put new tolls on existing interstates.
A recent New York Times article shows that the opposition to tolling existing interstates is not limited to the trucking industry. A broad range of businesses, industries, and highway user groups know giving the power to toll - a form of taxation - to unelected bureaucrats will not solve the nation's transportation funding issues