US President Donald Trump released a fiscal 2018 budget blueprint this week which seeks a 12.7 percent funding cut to $16.2 billion for the Department of Transportation. Included, reports Fleet Owner magazine, was a section into a $1 billion, 10-year infrastructure plan which calls for easing federal tolling restrictions and private investment into rest areas.
“The administration’s goal is to seek long-term reforms on how infrastructure projects are regulated, funded, delivered, and maintained. Providing more federal funding, on its own, is not the solution to our infrastructure challenges,” the White House wrote in a fact sheet included with the budget.
Among the funding proposals was one to “liberalize tolling policy and allow private investment in rest areas.”
The American Trucking Associations was troubled with the proposal.
”While ATA is encouraged by the apparent focus on infrastructure investment . . . we are deeply concerned by the proposal to loosen the restrictions on interstate tolling,” said Bill Sullivan, executive vice president for advocacy. “In addition to being inefficient and unsafe, tolling has proven to be deeply unpopular, with states like North Carolina and Virginia abandoning interstate toll projects. Quite simply, time and again, proposals to use tolls to fund highways have failed.”