Can Interstate Tolling Be Politically Feasible?

Policy Brief

Can Interstate Tolling Be Politically Feasible?

States can use toll revenue to modernize and update Interstate highways if the program puts the interest of highway users—motorists and truckers—first.

A growing number of state departments of transportation have expressed interest in using toll revenue to finance the reconstruction and modernization of their aging Interstate highways. Their interest stems from the very large cost of such projects compared with projected federal and state fuel tax revenues. Feasibility studies have been carried out recently in a number of states, including Connecticut, Indiana, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

Many legislators and some governors are hesitant to embrace this idea, based on concerns about the merits of taking this course and about potential public and political opposition. The concerns are real, but most or all of them can be addressed, if the program is designed to put the interest of highway users—motorists and truckers—first.

This policy brief suggests a politically feasible way forward.

Policy Brief: Can Interstate Tolling Be Politically Feasible? A Customer-Friendly Approach

Robert Poole is director of transportation policy and Searle Freedom Trust Transportation Fellow at Reason Foundation.