Urges President and Congress to give states “maximum flexibility” to solve highway funding crisis and unleash America’s innovative spirit
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In response to President Trump’s first State of the Union Address tonight, transportation leaders with the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA), the worldwide association for the owners and operators of toll facilities and the businesses that serve them, offered their reaction.
“We applaud President Trump tonight for outlining a renewed focus on the need for bipartisan action towards improving and investing in America’s transportation infrastructure,” said Patrick Jones, Executive Director and CEO of IBTTA. “As we await the details of the White House’s infrastructure plan, we are encouraged by the President’s call to cut burdensome regulations and laws that prevent states from accessing all available funding options to meet their local needs. The current federal restriction on tolling of the Interstate System is one such barrier to increased highway investment. Some of the highest capacity, Interstate quality highways in America would never have been built without tolling. Tolling is both a proven and effective tool to help pay for our nation’s infrastructure and an incubator of ideas driving mobility in the future.”
Last year as part of the release of the Administration’s fiscal year 2018 budget, President Trump called for reducing the restrictions on tolling to allow “States to assess their transportation needs and weigh the relative merits of tolling assets.”
“As the director of one of Colorado’s largest tolling systems, I’ve seen first-hand the power of toll-financed transportation to revolutionize mobility and provide critical transportation solutions at the local and state levels,” said Tim Stewart, Executive Director of Colorado’s E-470 Public Highway Authority and 2018 IBTTA President. “As the White House and Congress seek to solve our nation’s infrastructure challenges, it is imperative they look across the country and see the way states and localities continue to embrace alternative forms of funding.”
“Reducing regulations and giving states and regions the tools and flexibility to meet our local needs will unleash further innovations in transportation benefiting the American public for years to come,” said Samuel Johnson, IBTTA Second Vice President, and Chief Operations Officer for the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) in Orange County, California. “Agencies across the country are already seeing success implementing transportation solutions on our roadways by utilizing innovative approaches and integrating data-driven metrics to guide mobility strategies that help move drivers and goods across America more safely and efficiently. Let us do more!”
“We need an ‘all of the above’ approach to infrastructure investment. We need direct federal investment; we need the states to invest; and we need to give states the flexibility to toll in places where it makes sense to them,” said Jones. “Tolling is a tool in the toolbox. It can involve the public sector, or the private sector, or both. America needs a variety of solutions. Federal investment, state investment, and tolling are all part of the highway infrastructure funding solution.”