It's Just a Matter of Time Until the Next Bridge Collapse

A more flexible approach to tolling would unleash billions of dollars in badly-needed investment.

The Skagit River bridge collapse.
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  • The North Texas Tollway Authority uses a sophisticated maintenance rating program to enforce a high performance standard for its 850 lane miles of highway.
  • The Illinois Tollway earned 86 percent customer support for a major toll increase because customers understood the urgent need to reinvest in existing infrastructure – the roads they already drive every day.
  • [See a collection of political cartoons on sequestration and the fiscal cliff.]

    At a time of severe budget deficits and a dwindling Highway Trust Fund, it's time for tough funding decisions to protect the safety of the traveling public. With more than 150,000 bridges across the nation in need of repair, we can't afford not to have all funding options on the table. Tolling has proven itself as a viable funding option that should be part of the toolbox available to state leaders.

    America's highway system is incredibly diverse, and it would be unnecessary and wrong for Congress to mandate tolling or any other funding solution for every road. But the urgent need for new funding extends to every state and virtually every community in the land. A more flexible, permissive approach to tolling would unleash billions of dollars in badly-needed investment, not to mention a flurry of local innovation that would point to durable, local solutions to the transportation infrastructure crisis.

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