The International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA), the worldwide association representing toll facility owners and operators and businesses that serve them, today released a new fact sheet addressing the top five myths circulated by opponents of tolling. The fact sheet, “Debunking the Myths of Highway Tolling”, outlines the truths about tolling as a successful and proven way to fund our nation’s highways and, in some situations, an increasingly appropriate and viable alternative to more traditional forms of transportation financing.
The new IBTTA fact sheet states: “Highway tolling is a proven, reliable funding method that is already delivering results in 34 states and Puerto Rico, but unfortunately, federal law prohibits states from using tolls to rebuild existing lanes of interstate highways.” It goes on to state that these major myths around tolling “are making it tougher for tolling to help fill our nation’s infrastructure funding gap.”
Some of the “primary benefits” of tolling include “better, safer roads; less congestion; more predictable trip times and reduced need for taxes to pay for roads.” The fact sheet says, “Tolls provide money today for projects that can be built in the near future and meet the demand for decades to come.”
The top five myths that the new fact sheet addresses are:
Myth #1: “Our Highways Are Already Paid For” -- The reality is that there are no free roads. There are only toll roads and tax supported roads. The big difference is that you only pay for a toll road when you choose to drive on it.
Myth #2: “Tolling is Double Taxation” -- A toll is a user fee, not a tax.
Myth #3: “Tolling Causes Delays and Congestion” -- Today, most toll roads, bridges and tunnels collect tolls electronically, keeping traffic flow moving. All Electronic Tolling also improves local air quality by reducing idling and congestion.
Myth #4: “Tolling Technology Violates Driver Privacy” -- The toll facility operators, like other businesses, protect their customer data and typically retain transaction data only long enough to ensure proper payment.
Myth #5: “It Costs Too Much To Collect Tolls” -- According to a 2012 Reason Foundation study, the cost of collecting tolls in a mature AET system may actually be cheaper than the cost of collecting the gas tax.
In April, IBTTA released, “Tolling in Brief,” another fact sheet that called on the federal government to embrace additional funding options, including tolling.
Both fact sheets have been released as part of IBTTA’s public awareness campaign, Moving America Forward, which was launched to highlight the benefits of tolling to policy-makers, the media, and other interested parties.