Federal Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has hinted the Obama administration may be warming to tolling highways as a way to raise revenue for the federal highway trust fund. That trust fund also pays for transit projects.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said a combination of current-level gas tax receipts, road and bridge tolling and President Obama’s proposed infrastructure fund could offer a way to fund a long-term federal infrastructure program without new taxes.
Appearing before a heavily attended conference in Washington, D.C., of the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, LaHood vowed “raising the gas tax is not an option” to increase money available for federal transport spending.
Unfortunately, LaHood still reflects the Obama administration’s view that a gas tax increase is off-the-table. When even the hard-hitting editorialists at USA TODAY, one might wonder how far out-of-touch the administration is on gas taxes.
However, a stronger federal stance on tolling as a source of revenue would be welcome. Tolling represents one of the few ways to actually reduce congestion and ration access to roadways, and would encourage government to invest in transit alternatives.
Hat tip to the excellent Federal Transportation Issues blog that WSDOT runs.