December 2021

Getting To Yes On Toll-Financed Interstate Reconstruction

Robert W. Poole Jr., Director of Transportation Policy, Reason Foundation

In a previous issue of this newsletter, I suggested that by far the largest U.S. P3 opportunity would be revenue-risk DBFOM projects to rebuild America’s aging Interstate highways via toll financing. The cost of reconstruction and selective widening was estimated in a major Transportation Research Board study at approximately $1 trillion over the next 20 years.

Unfortunately, neither the bipartisan infrastructure bill (IIJA) signed by the president nor the still-being-debated $2 trillion Build Back Better bill makes any provision for rebuilding this country’s most valuable highway infrastructure. In order to have a growing economy in the decades ahead, the aging Interstates must be modernized. And if Congress ignores this need, the system’s owners—the 50 states—need to pick up the ball, if only to maintain their own economic competitiveness.

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