Trouble in Toll Land

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 […]

The Problem with VMT Reduction Policy

Much-needed congestion-reduction projects in California are at risk of being cancelled, due to a little-noticed change that was legislated in 2013 but has taken about a decade to be fully implemented. SB 473 requires highway policy to no longer focus on its traditional goal of improving level of service (LOS), which often leads to widening […]

Lessons from the Key Bridge Collapse

The collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge has dominated transportation news in recent weeks. Americans have learned a lot about the enormous size of container ships and the potential vulnerability of major bridges. But some important lessons from this disaster are not yet widely understood.

Misunderstanding U.S. Highway P3s

For some reason, transportation scholars in Europe and Latin America consider long-term DBFOM P3s as risky endeavors that don’t offer the benefits that advocates of U.S. P3s offer to policymakers, such as significant risk transfer from taxpayers to investors and an operating culture that seeks to satisfy customers on a long-term basis.

A New Perspective on Truck Tolling

Trucking industry opposition to toll-financing of the replacement I-10 bridge in Louisiana nearly killed this critically important P3 project last fall. Fortunately, this $2.1 billion revenue-risk P3 has been rescued by the legislature, after negotiations that revised the financing plan by reducing toll rates for trucks (and for very local users) and increasing the extent […]

The Future of U.S. Toll Roads

Toll roads constitute 8.2% of U.S. limited-access highway lane-miles (25.5 thousand ln-mi out of 312 thousand). That relatively small fraction includes some of the highest-volume major highways, such as Florida’s Turnpike, the Indiana Toll Road, Illinois Tollway, New Jersey Turnpike, New York Thruway, Ohio Turnpike, and Pennsylvania Turnpike. Adding HOT lanes and express toll lanes […]

Rethinking the Highway Trust Fund, Part 2

Last month I discussed the House Transportation Committee’s October hearing on the looming insolvency of the federal Highway Trust Fund. I reviewed three questions posed by Jeff Davis of the Eno Center for Transportation: 1. Should the users-pay/users-benefit principle be continued? 2. If the federal government retains that principle, what transportation functions should be covered? […]

Rethinking the Federal Highway Trust Fund

On October 18th, the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee’s highways and transit subcommittee held a hearing on the future of the federal Highway Trust Fund. It was bad news all around, with expert testimony from Congressional Budget Office analyst Chad Shirley, Eno Transportation Weekly’s Jeff Davis, and officials from the Oregon and Washington State DOTs. […]

Louisiana Bridge Shows Need for More P3 Education

Revenue-financed DBFOM P3s are still relatively rare in the United States, but you’d think that if a state DOT had succeeded in doing its first one, the second one would be easier to get approved. But a recent hearing in Louisiana should serve as a wake-up call on the need for increased educational efforts on […]