Our toll-free Interstate highway system has been called the greatest public works investment in American history. The decision to build the Interstates with fuel and truck users fees instead of tolls was a purposeful one. It helped encourage the free flow of interstate commerce and tourism and brought the people of the United States closer together.
We support keeping our existing Interstate lanes toll-free. However, it is obvious that federal and state funding shortfalls have created substantial barriers to the construction of new lanes and routes. The development of tolled express lanes, high-occupancy or toll lanes, and new toll roads present an opportunity to get roads built that might not otherwise be affordable. Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) increase the private sector’s involvement in typically public construction, maintenance, and/or operation roles. Some PPPs, particularly on new routes, can be a good deal. Others, especially the leasing of existing toll roads, are a windfall for state and local government at the expense of motorists and truckers. The Highway Users evaluates PPPs on a case-by-case basis, always putting the motoring public’s interest first.