The U.S. Senate yesterday passed an amendment to its version of the highway bill that would prevent tolls on existing lanes of Interstate highways.
“Under this amendment, only one facility in Virginia would be able to toll the I-81 truck lanes under the provisions of an existing tolling pilot program,” American Trucking Assns. spokesperson Tiffany Wlazlowski told Fleet Owner. “This however, is no guarantee because they would have to undergo the application process with the Federal Highway Administration.”
“Tolling interstates would reduce the safety of nearby local roads, degrade the quality of life in neighboring areas, and hurt the economy,” Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) said before the Senate yesterday, adding that tolling existing interstate lanes will divert traffic to secondary roads. “Eighty percent of the nation's goods travel by truck, and they will travel more slowly and expensively if tolls are imposed on interstates.”
A similar amendment proposed by Rep. Mark Kennedy (R-MN) for the House version of the bill was struck down in March.
The House and Senate will negotiate to complete a final highway bill.