June 2024

Trouble in Toll Land

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

Despite (or perhaps because of) the ongoing increase in tolled U.S. lane-miles, tolling is under new political attacks in 2024. Here are four disturbing developments during the first half of 2024:

– After Oregon DOT had gained approval from FHWA to implement variable tolls on a stretch of I-5 in Portland, Gov. Tina Kotek abruptly vetoed the program.

– In southern California, the local metropolitan planning organization (SANDAG) announced the launch of a study on the feasibility of removing tolls on SR 125 (which began as a long-term P3 project that SANDAG bought out of bankruptcy).

– In Texas, the state with the second-highest number of tolled lane-miles, House Speaker Dade Phelan announced plans to introduce “toll reforms” in the 2025 legislative session, citing a hodge-podge of providers and great disparities in toll rates.

– And in Florida, a frequent-user tolls rebate program for SunPass transponder users statewide was renewed for a second year, and proudly announced by Florida DOT.

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