User-based revenue as a long-term solution for funding transportation infrastructure

With federal fuels taxes in decline, tolling is enjoying growing acceptance as a method for improving mobility and adding capacity to America’s aging transportation infrastructure. In fact, from 2003 to 2013, tolled interstate mileage grew faster than total interstate mileage, increasing by 17 percent while interstate mileage increased by just 2 percent, according to a Brookings Institute study.

Today, 35 states have a total of 5,900 miles of tolled roads used by more than 16 million Americans a day, according to the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association. By 2030, the IBTTA predicts the industry will be four to five times larger.

Americans see tolling’s value
A 2016 HNTB America THINKS survey revealed 45 percent of Americans prefer tolls to pay for future transportation infrastructure, compared with 32 percent who prefer mileage-based user fees and just 23 percent who prefer higher taxes.

Americans say they are willing to pay a toll in exchange for the benefits they receive: 
  • Improved safety due to better maintenance, pavement and technology
  • Reduced congestion
  • Predictable trip times
  • Tolling’s ability to help fund transit options

Technology leads to advancements
Advancements in technology have made tolling a more efficient, sophisticated enterprise. Toll collection is more user-friendly and strategic applications of tolling have become an effective way to manage urban congestion.
  • Electronic tolling – Advanced revenue collections systems have made tolling an efficient way to collect revenue, and many toll facilities have or are converting from cash-based collection to faster, user-friendly all-electronic tolling.
  • Interoperability – Soon, traveling on multiple toll facilities will be seamless. Statements and toll transactions will be bundled, so the customer can review and pay all charges with one account.
  • Priced managed lanes – States are using congestion pricing to moderate demand during peak periods and maintain a superior level of service. There are 37 operating priced managed lanes in 16 congested U.S. metropolitan areas. Another 30 projects are scheduled to open in the next 10 years.

Tolling projects

HNTB is an engineering consultant to more tolling agencies than any other firm in the country. The firm has served the toll industry for more than 60 years. Select projects include:
For a breakdown of HNTB's toll experience nationwide, the firm's history in the toll market, other data by the numbers, click here.

HNTB Tolling Experts

HNTB’s tolling experts are ready to discuss trends as well as the state of the industry and its promising future:

Kevin Hoeflich, PE, is HNTB's chairman of toll services, focusing on toll client service, strategic planning and growing the firm's overall tolling practice. His expertise includes program management, priced managed lanes, all electronic tolling and technology applications.

Greg Le Frois, PE, is senior vice president and vice chairman of the national toll services practice for HNTB. Le Frois has significant experience in toll project feasibility studies, tolling policies, toll road planning and design, and managed lane planning and design.

Brad Guilmino is HNTB’s chief financial consultant. He has experience with a wide range of public transportation agencies and has specific expertise with project finance, tolling, revenue and sales tax bonding, federal programs and public-private partnerships.

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