Over 1,100 transportation experts have cast their votes in the 2015 Tolltrans poll – and 65% have come out in favor of the controversial concept of interstate tolling in the USA.
In the current 2015 edition of Tolltrans there is a ‘grudge match duel’ between JJ Eden (below left), president and CEO of the Alliance for Toll Interoperability, and Rex Davis (right), board member for the Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates, as each put passionate arguments for and against respectively the controversial concept of tolling existing interstates in the USA.
Rex Davis argued that a strong economy relies on freedom of movement and raised concerns about the fiscal efficiency of toll collections. He also pointed out the risk that nearby non-tolled routes could have to deal with extra strain from rerouted traffic if a major interstate is tolled.
On the other hand JJ Eden argued that it is unfair to pay for roads through taxation as even the people who never use them will still have to pay. Moreover he said that in order to raise enough funds from fuel tax, for example, the increases would have to be so big that there is unlikely to be the political will to implement them. Tolling, he said, is the only way to stop the USA’s interstates falling apart.
There are clearly no easy answers in this debate that has divided much of the transportation community. And in order to effectively address the issue of funding, it is essential that the concerns raised by Rex Davis and the Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates are addressed.
On hearing the results of the poll, J J Eden agreed, pointing out that the priority is to have a fully functioning road system and tolls are just one of the ways we might achieve this: “We must turn our transportation infrastructure away from deterioration and into a growth mode that will support economic growth,” he said. “Tolls are one of the dwindling arsenal of financial tools available to state and local governments.”
The final results of the poll
Total votes cast: 1184
Against interstate tolling: 414 (35%)
In favor of interstate tolling: 770 (65%)
Read the original arguments from your very own ring-side seat here