Friday, June 16, 2006

"The fastest growing form of taxation in the U.S."

Toll Jitters Grip Carriers, Shippers and Logistics Providers

Copyright 2006

PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY - JUNE 15, 2006 - Major North American businesses are moving quickly to deal with the looming impact of tolls on their transportation costs according to ALK Technologies, the leading provider of map and location-based technologies for the transportation industry.

"We have seen wide-scale adoption of a new ALK tolls management product in the year since its introduction. This clearly shows the concern many companies have with the rapid rise of toll costs, particularly in the Northeast," said Ed Siciliano, vice president, sales and marketing for ALK.

ALK|FleetSuite Tolls software, recently introduced and extensively adopted, a comprehensive software solution that tracks virtually all tolls on U.S. roads, bridges and tunnels, including cash tolls and discounted toll programs such as E-ZPass, I-Pass and TollTag.

"For example, a five-axle tractor trailer going from a central New Jersey distribution center to Long Island and back already pays $140 in tolls alone," Siciliano said. Tolls for the round trip of only 110 miles include those imposed on the New Jersey Turnpike, the George Washington Bridge, and the Whitestone Bridge or Throgs Neck Bridge between Long Island and the Bronx.

"Multiply that $140 by the number of trucks making the trip daily, many from the same carrier or private fleet, and you see the problem," he said.

In fact, tolls may be the fastest growing form of taxation in the U.S. Their cost is passed on unseen to consumers in the price of almost everything they buy.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, toll receipts at state-run facilities more than doubled from 1994 to 2004 to nearly $7 billion. That number will soon look small if current efforts to toll existing Interstates succeed. Among those states hoping to impose tolls on Interstates are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Virginia.

Meanwhile, some states want to privatize toll roads. New Jersey lawmakers have proposed privatization of the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway - at least in part. In New York, Governor Pataki wants to sell the Tappan Zee Bridge over the Hudson River, part of the New York Thruway. In fact, an Australian company recently purchased Virginia's Pocahontas Parkway, a toll road.

Apparently many companies realize that if only a few of the current tolling efforts are successful, the cost of truck transportation will rise substantially. "ALK|FleetSuite Tolls is already being used by all technically savvy carriers and shippers," Siciliano said.

Among the well-known carriers currently using ALK|FleetSuite Tolls are Schneider National, Stevens Transport, Barr Nunn, Ryder, Tyson Foods, Arctic Express, Ward Trucking, Werner Enterprises, and more. Other customers include major shipper General Mills and on-demand logistics management provider Nistevo.

"Tolls have traditionally been dealt with by reimbursing drivers who produce receipts or by using electronic toll collection services like E-ZPass," Siciliano said. "Both are subject to errors that can prove costly over time."

"Tolls are not always monitored as carefully as they should be. In many instances, tolls are not figured into costs or adequately planned for; they are often absorbed by fleets," Siciliano said. "But that strategy - or lack of one - won't work much longer. Tolls will become a very serious item in every ground transportation budget."

For more information on ALK|FleetSuite Tolls, visit

© 2006