White House opens door to tolls on interstate highways, removing long-standing prohibition

Washington Post – by Ashley Halsey III

With pressure mounting to avert a transportation funding crisis this summer, the Obama administration Tuesday opened the door for states to collect tolls on interstate highways to raise revenue for roadway repairs.

The proposal, contained in a four-year, $302 billion White House transportation bill, would reverse a long-standing federal prohibition on most interstate tolling.

Though some older segments of the network — notably the Pennsylvania and New Jersey turnpikes and Interstate 95 in Maryland and Virginia — are toll roads, most of the 46,876-mile system has been toll-free.“We believe that this is an area where the states have to make their own decisions,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We want to open the aperture, if you will, to allow more states to choose to make broader use of tolling, to have that option available.”The question of how to pay to repair roadways and transit systems built in the heady era of post-World War II expansion is demanding center stage this spring, with projections that traditional funding can no longer meet the need.

That source, the Highway Trust Fund, relies on the 18.4-cent federal gas tax, which has eroded steadily as vehicles have become more energy efficient.

“The proposal comes at the crucial moment for transportation in the last several years,” Foxx said. “As soon as August, the Highway Trust Fund could run dry. States are already canceling or delaying projects because of the uncertainty.”

While providing tolling as an option to states, the White House proposal relies on funding from a series of corporate tax reforms, most of them one-time revenue streams that would provide a four-year bridge to close the trust-fund deficit and permit $150 billion more in spending than the gas tax will bring in.

The corporate tax reform proposal has gotten a lukewarm reception even from Democrats in Congress, and Foxx emphasized that the administration is open to any counterproposal that wins bipartisan support.

With the trust fund about to run into the red and the current federal highway bill set to expire Sept. 30, Congress cannot — as its members often note — keep “kicking the can down the road.”

Even a temporary extension of the current bill would require them to authorize a transfer of money from the general fund.

Details of the president’s proposal, which he first outlined almost two months ago, were welcomed as a sign of growing momentum toward a resolution, even by those who couldn’t fully embrace his plan.

“While we may not agree with all aspects of the administration’s proposal, we look forward to the continuing dialogue with Congress and the administration on charting America’s transportation future,” said Bud Wright, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

Terry O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, said the bill helped “advance the discussion” but said a federal gas tax increase should be used to fund it.

“The gas tax remains the most tested and logical way of meeting our critical investment needs,” O’Sullivan said.

“For too long, Congress’s duct-tape approach has made our roads and bridges unsafe, destabilized the construction industry and slowed our economy.”

The federal tax last was raised in 1993 and has not been adjusted for inflation.

Another advocacy group, the nonprofit Transportation for America, spelled out its concerns Tuesday in a report, “The looming financial disaster for transportation.”

The report provided a state-by-state accounting of the percentage of transportation funding that came from Washington. In most cases, it amounted to about half, though some states were far more dependent on federal dollars. (Federal funds accounted for 52 percent of the District’s funding, 49 percent of Maryland’s and almost 59 percent of Virginia’s.)

It also broke down the funding that would be lost by each major metropolitan area without federal revenue, pegging the Washington region’s loss at $424 million.

“Congress has an opportunity to not only save the transportation program, but to recommit to investing in the repairs and improvements our communities and businesses need,” said James Corless, the group’s director.

Corless predicted that most Americans would accept tax increases to fund transportation.

“When people understand where the dollars are being spent, the direct impact to their lives, they support paying their fair share,” he said.

Foxx said the highway trust fund would face a $63 billion shortfall over the next four years.

“What our proposal would do is [use] pro-growth business tax reform to backfill in the highway trust fund,” Foxx said. “We would put that $63 billion back in place to stabilize the highway trust fund, and then the additional $90 billion would be spent on new programs.”

He said the $302 billion bottom line for the proposal would be reached “through a combination of existing taxes that go to the highway trust fund that would equate to $152 billion on their own, and then $150 billion in transitional revenues from pro-growth tax reform.”

The proposal emphasizes a fix-it-first approach that would give funding priority to existing roads, bridges and transit systems rather than expanding their network.

It would expand reforms intended to streamline environmental reviews and project delivery that were begun in the current federal highway bill.

It also would expand popular loan-guarantee programs that have been used by state and local governments to fund projects. The White House plan would almost double funding — from $12.3 billion to $22.3 billion — for transit systems and intercity passenger rail.

In addition, the plan would increase the fine an automaker could face for a safety violation from the current $35 million to $300 million.

Though that proposal is not new, it takes on greater significance amid the debate over General Motors’s delayed recall of 2 million cars with faulty ignition switchesthat are alleged to have led to at least 13 deaths.


16 thoughts on “White House opens door to tolls on interstate highways, removing long-standing prohibition

  1. If they do the tolls, we are going to be paying more money to them and keeping less for ourselves. Plus they will initiate a tracking system to automatically deduct fees for using a road that we already own. Thus tracking our movements even more than before.

    If they raise the fuel tax, we will be paying a lot more at the pump for our fuel and the money still wont fix our roads.

    Either way you look at it, We the People get the shaft.

    1. I see the clamp down on our ability to “freely travel about our country” has begun. Next will be the closure of our borders.

      Aren’t the un-Godly amount of taxes we pay included in our gasoline purchases supposed to be revenue for roadway repairs?
      . . .

  2. You know what I say to that? F#@k you, you bunch of bureaucratic assholes! The roads in this country belong to WE THE PEOPLE! We are sick of you political swine stuffing your pockets with all the cash reaped from the taxes paid on fuel charges which are supposed to be used to repair the roads! Don’t think for a nano-second that we don’t realize this is all part of your Agenda 21 plan to keep the herds corralled in the camps you assign. You treasonous, communist, socialist, Zionist bastards are going to learn the hard way that American Nationals don’t carry the Soviet Express card “Don’t leave home…at all!”

  3. More bull piles from the Washington Post.

    They need to allow toll booths so they can sell the highways to the Chinks. The highway has no re-sale value unless you can squeeze a few bucks out of every driver.

    And this practice of installing toll booths and new fees everywhere is historically typical in every country the Jews infiltrate.

  4. Gotta extort the rest of our tax payer money to the elite and their corporations.

    Corporate tax reforms says it all. Who gives a shit about the corporations. Let ’em FAIL!!!

  5. “Corless predicted that most Americans would accept tax increases to fund transportation.”

    Really? Where’s his evidence to make such a ridiculous prediction? Another one of their skewed statistics?

    He hasn’t talked to me, yet, so I say his prediction is waaaayy off.

  6. Yep, your friendly, neighborhood toll booth with all the latest gizmos, license plate readers, RFID chip readers for all those lucky enough to have one of the “new” Driver’s licenses or IDs. All this info will be stored for future reference. There now, don’t you feel so safe that “big brother” is keeping an eye out for you!

  7. The Fed can print money to bail out their buddies, etc. Let them print money to fix the roads. We owe so much that it can never be repaid anyhow, so go whole hog. Fix the roads, then kill the Fed. End of problems, nothing owed. Each state take control of all roads within its borders, pay nothing to the Federal Gov.

  8. Maybe Rumsfeld can find that 2.3 TRILLION that was UNACCOUNTED FOR on 9/10/01. That would help a bit. Not to mention the a few more Trillion that was used to blow up, rebuild, repave , blow up again etc.etc… the roads of iraq, afganistan ,libya, egypt etc..etc…

    1. Sorry, the very spot that blew up in the Pentagon during 911 stored all of the financial records along with the people investigating the missing $2.3 Trillion Dollars. Check it out. Just another highly suspicious circumstance. Follow the money. KBR, Dick Cheney, and the BFEE.

  9. are the roads really that bad, or are cars just that much of crap? (Im serious, show me the part that costs $8,000 on a $32k car)

  10. They steal ‘the peoples’ roads, put tolls on ‘the peoples’ roads, then sell the ‘the peoples’ roads to the chinese. This will be a defacto squeeze on the freedom of movement. They want everyone to move into the cities, I mean open air surveillance prisons, and create a constant war of ethnic diversity so no one can really organize against them. Then come the battle-droids
    to keep everyone in line.

    Let’s not go there.


  11. And then fleecing of ameriKa continues unabated! Even the dimmest bulb should see why there is such a need to ammo,armored cars,drones cameras,swat teams,DHS.ETC. Here is a clue,it has nothing to do with YOUR protecting and everything to do with theirs!

  12. Hey, this is great! Let’s pay again for roads we already paid for and still pay for through fuel taxes. So let me get this straight. We pay for the roads to be built, pay for the roads to be maintained, now we must pay again in order to drive on the roads WE already FVCKING OWN!!!!

    I foresee the scenic routes in my future until this madness is corrected.

  13. A previous topic with regard to relocating everyone from the rural and suburban communities (aka Agenda 21 and eminent domain) was posted on April 21st: “This is Why the BLM Wants Cliven Bundy’s Ranch Gone”.

    The logical question would be: How will the Fed convince everyone to move back to the city? I posted a list of options the Fed may use to persuade us to live in the cities, by making it cost prohibitive to live in the rural areas:

    –raise the Federal Tax on gasoline,

    –add a Federal Luxury tax on auto parts,

    –add a Federal luxury tax on all cars registered,

    –tax cars additionally at the pump on each previous mile driven,

    –Federal Luxury tax on all commuter transit ticket costs for people who live outside the city limits,

    –luxury tax on private home water wells,

    –discourage businesses from moving to the suburbs by offering business owners tax deduction incentives to remain in the cities (good for the business owners but bad for employees),

    –POW (Privilege Of Working) tax for people who live in the suburbs but work in the city,

    –privatize (sell-off) all Federal and Interstate Highways and turn them into toll roads,

    –require Federal approval on all new home mortgage applications, and

    –remove tax deduction on home mortgage interest.

    Privatizing the Interstate Highways and turning them into toll roads was one on the methods I thought the Feds would use. Considering the fact that gasoline tax paid at the pump was to be used to maintain all Federal Highways, tells me that this tax fund is NOT being used to maintain the highway infrastructure, any more than the funds that will be received from road tolls will be used to maintain Federal Highways. However, it will add to the costs of living outside the city limits.

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