As groups study our nation’s transportation system, some are suggesting the tolling of existing roadways to address funding and congestion problems. As reported by the Washington Post:
There are basically two reasons to toll existing highway lanes, as opposed to new lanes, such as Maryland’s Intercounty Connector or Virginia’s 495 Express Lanes. One reason is to manage congestion. The other is to pay for repairs and upgrades.
Washington Post polls have shown support for tolling new lanes. In the most recent poll, conducted in June, 62 percent said they supported using adjustable tolls to spread out the flow of traffic. The question cited the 495 Express Lanes as an example.
This was seven months after the express lanes opened, and 35 percent of the poll respondents said they had tried them. Among those, 69 percent said it was worth it.
But none of that is the same as supporting tolls on highway lanes that have been around for a long time.
Proposals to toll existing roadways seem to be facing an uphill battle.
It’s not very likely that Congress would liberalize the tolling rules. That’s partly because of the nature of Congress and partly because of public skepticism.