Bill would force states to pay if they want to toll interstates

| 10/15/2007

A U.S. representative from Iowa has filed legislation designed to disrupt plans by some states to toll interstate highways.

Rep. Leonard Boswell, D-IA, filed the Toll Road Prohibition Act of 2007 on Wednesday, Oct. 10. The legislation would force states to repay the Highway Trust Fund for costs associated with building and maintaining interstates if state officials decide to add tolls to interstates.

Boswell’s bill states that “... no toll may be collected for the use of a highway, bridge, or tunnel constructed ... in whole or in part using federal funds unless the total amount of such federal funds, including reasonable interest thereon, is repaid to the United States from non-Federal sources.”

The bill – HR3802 – was referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

Co-sponsors for the bill include Rep. John Peterson, R-PA, Rep. Phil English, R-PA, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-NE, and Rep. Lee Terry, R-NE.

Peterson has stood with OOIDA against proposals by officials in Pennsylvania and other states to toll interstates.

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell was preparing on Monday, Oct. 15, to sign an agreement with the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to relinquish control of Interstate 80 to the commission for the purpose of converting it into a toll road.

Peterson in the U.S. House, along with Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-TX, previously filed legislation to prohibit three interstate tolling programs initiated by the Federal Highway Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The bills filed by Peterson and Hutchison were agreed to as amendments to federal transportation appropriations legislation in the House and Senate respectively. Final bill language has not yet been approved by a conference committee, which will be the final step before it is sent to President Bush.

– By David Tanner, staff writer