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Tolls & Trucking: A New Value Proposition

Tracking Impacts of COVID-19 in metropolitan Washington and public opinion on how the pandemic will influence future travel

Chapter Host: Washington, D.C  | May 11, 2022  |  52:59 minutes

The Interstate Highway System is wearing out and needs to be rebuilt, in some cases with additional capacity, especially for trucks. Congress has failed to create a program or funding for this $1 trillion need, but a number of states have studied toll-financed reconstruction of their Interstates. In this webinar, Bob Poole will summarize a Reason policy study that models a hypothetical mid-size state program to toll-finance the reconstruction and widening of its four long-distance Interstates. Built into the model are four truck-friendly policy assumptions, including fuel-tax rebates for miles driven on the newly tolled corridors (to address the “double taxation” concern. The quantitative exercise suggests that this kind of approach is feasible, and it might address the trucking industry’s long-standing concerns about tolling.

Robert Poole is Director of Transportation Policy and the Searle Freedom Trust Transportation Fellow at the Reason Foundation. He received his B.S. and M.S. in mechanical engineering at MIT and did graduate work in operations research at NYU.  His 1988 policy paper proposing privately financed express toll lanes invented that concept. The paper inspired California’s landmark public-private partnership pilot projects law (AB 680), which led to the world’s first privately developed express toll lanes project on SR 91 in Orange County, California. Today, more than 60 ETL projects are in operation around the country. In 1993 Bob directed a Reason study that introduced the term HOT Lanes.   He writes a monthly column on transportation policy issues for Public Works Financing, and publishes the monthly e-newsletter, Surface Transportation Innovations.  His book, Rethinking America’s Highways: A 21st Century Vision for Better Infrastructure, was published by the University of Chicago Press in July 2018, with a paperback edition released in January 2021.

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