By Shelia Dunn, NMA Communications Director
The Newspaper. Com reported this month that traffic is down two-thirds on US toll roads. This downturn in traffic indeed threatens the revenue model of the foreign companies that operate them.
So much so, that earlier in the month, the International Bridge, Tunnel, and Turnpike Authority asked the federal government for a $9.245 billion bailout due to the COVID-19 crisis. The IBTTA claims that if private toll companies do not receive these federal subsidies, funding would be jeopardized for state departments of transportation.
Fast forward to April 20th—The Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates worked with many state departments of transportation, state trucking groups, and other groups such as the National Motorists Association in presenting a letter to Congressional leadership in response to the IBTTA request. Here is an excerpt:
“While we understand the concerns of toll road operators, it is clear that they are far better prepared to maintain normal operations at this time than transportation agencies are. Therefore, we request that you ensure that all federal aid to support the continuance of surface transportation capital and operations budgets is directed to transportation agencies, and not to toll facility operators.”
The National Motorists Association certainly concurs. In another area, we agree on concerns congestion pricing in New York City. A number of recent reports and editorials came out stating that congestion pricing will likely not happen next year on schedule. Drivers already pay when they cross bridges into Manhattan. Should they also be tolled for the privilege of driving in the city too? Click the headlines for more information:
- Congestion Pricing and COVID-19: The Last Thing New Yorkers Need Right Now is Another Tax
- New York: MTA’s January launch of Manhattan congestion pricing ‘unlikely’
- NYC congestion pricing program on hold due to coronavirus, imperiling MTA modernization plans
Please remember that all monies coming from the future congestion fees will apply to the NYC subway—and does not directly support drivers as many types of tolling fees do. NYC’s congestion pricing will indeed be an ongoing story and one to watch out.
Here are five other top Tolling in America and Infrastructure Funding stories from the past weeks:
- Loudoun County, VA: Greenway Argues ‘Inappropriate’ to Delay Toll Increase Arguments During COVID-19
- Florida Op-Ed: Coronavirus should mandate an end to toll-road boondoggle
- As Orange County, CA Toll Road Traffic Drops, Transportation Officials Cap Rate Increases and Account Fees for 91 Express Lane Drivers
- Emergency Tolling Preps NYS Thruway Motorists for Cashless System Coming By End of 2020
- Spurred on by coronavirus concerns, Hilton Head Island, SC may end bridge toll early
NMA also has resources that might help in local efforts to fight tolls and fight for proper funding of infrastructure.
- NMA Tolls Issue Page
- NMA Principle Number 6: Reasonable highway user fees for maintaining and improving highways, not for financing non-highway projects
- E-ZPass is Anything But: A Motorist’s Viewpoint
- Paying More for Less Service: NMA E-Newsletter #534
- Some numbers to chew on
- Is an Infrastructure Apocalypse on the Horizon?
- Taking Tolling to Task: NMA Weekly E-Newsletter #480
- No More Toll Roads
- Congestion Pricing Cannot be the Future of Transportation Funding, Part 1: NMA E-Newsletter #468
- Congestion Pricing Cannot be the Future of Transportation Funding, Part 2: NMA Weekly E-Newsletter #469
If you would like to keep track of the many issues currently involved in tolls and other infrastructure funding, take a daily peek at the NMA’s Driving News Feed or subscribe to Driving News Daily, a five times per week email.
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Thank you for reading the NMA’s Tolling in America Blog!