Truck toll freeways advocated on Capitol Hill

| 6/10/2002

A plan announced June 6 on Capitol Hill calls for new "truck freeways" that would be separated by concrete barriers from car traffic and would carry heavier, longer trucks than currently permitted on interstate highways.

Special lanes would be built along medians that would have their own exit and entrance ramps. In addition, the lanes would include staging areas to assemble trailer combinations.

The plan was drafted by the Los Angeles-based Reason Foundation, a think tank. Proponents, including House Transportation Committee Chairman Don Young (R-AK), said the plan would reduce the number of deaths from crashes involving cars and trucks.

A Reason Foundation spokesman said the lanes would be financed by toll revenue bonds, backed by projected toll revenues, and not by taxpayers. Rep. Young said he'd like to test the plan with a pilot program that would be included next year's highway bill.

"Toll truckways would be freeways-within-the-freeway and provide a system geared toward safer, more productive trucks," said Robert Poole, director of transportation studies at Reason Foundation and co-author of the report. "These lanes offer greater protection from car-truck accidents while also permitting trucking and shipping companies to run larger, more economical rigs."
--Dick Larsen, senior editor