“I believe taxing Americans twice for the same asset is fundamentally unfair, and I oppose any effort to place tolls on existing interstate highways,” said Sen. Hutchison. “As we work to meet our transportation needs, we must think broadly and avoid band-aid solutions, like tolling, that will ultimately exacerbate congestion and divert traffic into residential neighborhoods and onto smaller, less safe roads.”
Sen. Hutchison’s legislation would prevent states, private entities, or private-public partnerships from adding tolls on existing free federal highways, bridges, or tunnels built with federal funding. Furthermore, the bill would prohibit states from attempting to purchase highways from the federal government and place them under state ownership or lease them to foreign investors for the purpose of tolling them. The legislation does not prohibit tolls on new construction.
Sen. Hutchison said, “If the state or community wants to expand their highways and toll for building new lanes, they can choose that alternative. In these situations, the taxpayers know exactly what they are getting. Many times a vote is required to approve these projects, but in any case, the taxpayers can hold the relevant officials accountable."
In January, U.S. Transportation Secretary Roy LaHood, when pressed by Sen. Hutchison, testified at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing that he did not think tolling was a “good idea” or the right solution for American transportation challenges.
“The debate on tolling illuminates the broader need to reform the federal highway program. Its antiquated funding formula, which has made
Last month, Sen. Hutchison introduced the Highway Fairness and Reform Act of 2009, S. 903, which would give states the option to opt out of federal highway program, which doles out funding on a revenue-sharing basis. Instead, opt-out states would receive a rebate on federal fuel taxes collected in their states. The bill is designed to ensure a dollar for dollar return on gas tax revenue generated by a state.
In 2007, Sen. Hutchison successfully passed legislation that prohibits the tolling of existing federal highways built with taxpayer dollars in
Sen. Hutchison has been working to prohibit this form of double taxation since 2005, when she introduced a similar tolling prohibition amendment to the Senate version of the Safe Accountable Flexible Efficient Transportation Equity Act: a Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU).
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RELEASE: Sen. Hutchison Extends Texas Tolling Moratorium Through 2009
RELEASE: Sen. Hutchison’s Ban on Tolling Federal Highways Supported by LaHood
RELEASE: Sen. Hutchison Introduces Bill Allowing States to Opt Out of Federal Funding Program