DOT Interstate Highway Tolling Plan Bad News for Taxpayers

April 30, 2014

Remarks as prepared:

Mr. Speaker, the U.S Department of Transportation yesterday delivered to Congress a draft highway reauthorization which proposes to remove the prohibition on tolling existing capacity on interstate highways.

As my colleagues are aware, the Interstate Highway System was created to enhance the flow of goods and services throughout the country. These investments have served to improve our economy and the lives of our citizens, while allowing America to remain competitive in a global market.

Plain and simple, tolling existing capacity will do nothing more than cripple our economy.   

In fact, Mr. Speaker, any attempt to remove the prohibitions on tolling interstate highways must be highly scrutinized.

In my home state of Pennsylvania, in 2007 a scheme was put together to toll Interstate 80. This was a prime example of a betrayal of the public trust, where the commonwealth under then Governor Rendell aimed to use toll revenues on other projects unassociated with the interstate.

Mr. Speaker, tolling can work for new capacity or to mitigate congestion by providing alternative lanes of travel, but it must be done in a transparent manner.

Pennsylvania’s plan was not crafted for the public good, but to cover up for a history of highway mismanagement and cronyism throughout the bureaucracy.

I look forward to working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle on finding a fiscally responsible way to maintain investments in critical transportation infrastructure projects across the country. And as we move forward on a new highway reauthorization, let us restore the public’s trust - not further erode it.  

The American people deserve as much. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I yield back the balance of my time.