Washington, DC (PRWEB) March 11, 2014
The International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA), the worldwide association representing toll facility owners and operators and businesses that serve them, this week brought together 150 transportation officials and leaders from across the country to call on Congress to give states the maximum flexibility needed to meet their individual transportation funding challenges.
IBTTA’s “Summit on Legislation, Policy and Infrastructure Finance” comes as Congress takes up authorization of the highway and transit bill (the successor to MAP-21) and looks for new ways to replenish the Highway Trust Fund that is currently teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. During the two-day Summit at the Liaison Capitol Hill Hotel, the association’s members and other transportation stakeholders meet to hear about the policies and legislative goals of other transportation associations, and explore how we can coordinate our efforts for maximum impact.
Speakers included former Governor Ed Rendell, Co-Chair of Building America’s Future; Victor Mendez, Acting Deputy U.S. Secretary of Transportation; U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL) and State Senator Robert Nichols (R-TX). In addition, transportation experts from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Governors Association, American Road and Transportation Builders Association, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and other industry leaders will address the two-day Summit. The summit agenda and full list of speakers can be found here.
Participants also visited their respective Members of Congress and Transportation Committee members to educate them about the benefits of tolling.
“In 35 states across the country, tolling makes a substantial contribution to the nation’s transportation system, generating more than $12 billion in annual toll revenues that support more than 5,300 miles of highways, bridges and tunnels. This infrastructure is vital to American mobility and economic growth. When Congress talks about considering all funding options, we want them to know that tolling is one of the most powerful, effective and proven tools in the toolbox,” said Patrick D. Jones, Executive Director and CEO of IBTTA.
“With transportation funding shortfalls at all levels of government, and traditional sources of funding no longer keeping pace with growing needs, it is important that Congress no longer tie the hands of governors as they seek to meet their transportation challenges. It is time for Congress to finally lift all federal restrictions on tolling existing interstates when they reauthorize MAP-21,” said former Pennsylvania Governor and co-chair of Building America’s Future, Ed Rendell.
“Austin currently ranks as one of the most congested urban areas in the nation, as well as one of the fastest growing in terms of population and employment. Given the financial constraints at all levels of government, tolling offers an alternative to funding critical transportation infrastructure in Central Texas,” said Mike Heiligenstein, Executive Director of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) and current president of IBTTA. “Our nation’s current infrastructure funding crisis is bad for everyone – bad for the environment, for the economy, for public safety and for quality of life. Toll finance is another tool in the toolbox that allows commuters and businesses to spend less time on the road and more time with their families and customers.”
Last month, IBTTA submitted testimony to both the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure committee and the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works committee stressing the important role tolling plays nationwide in 35 states. You can read the House testimony here, and the Senate testimony here.
In 2013, IBTTA launched Moving America Forward, a public awareness campaign that highlights the benefits of tolling to elected officials, policymakers, the media, and the general public. For additional information on the campaign, including fact sheets, background documents, and other materials, please click here.
The International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) is the worldwide association for the owners and operators of toll facilities and the businesses that serve them. Founded in 1932, IBTTA has members in more than 20 countries on six continents. Through advocacy, thought leadership and education, members are implementing state-of-the-art, innovative user-based transportation financing solutions to address the critical infrastructure challenges of the 21st century. For more information, visit http://www.ibtta.org or join us on Twitter @IBTTA or #TollRoads.