Friday, October 24, 2008

U.S. Secretary of Transportation leaves "blueprint" for next administration to continue Bush legacy of pushing privatized toll roads

Transportation Secretary "Future for Toll Roads"


BJ Austin
Copyright 2008

DALLAS, TX --The U.S. Secretary of Transportation, in Dallas today, says she's leaving the next Administration a blueprint for reform, including new ways to pay for much-needed highways. KERA's BJ Austin says TOLL ROADS figure prominently.

Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters on a tour of DART's Deep Ellum Rail Station under construction revealed new driving numbers. Through August of this year, Americans drove 15 BILLION fewer miles than during the same time a year ago that has resulted in gasoline tax revenues taking a nose dive. Peters sees another Highway Trust Fund shortfall that will trickle down to Texas.

Peters: State governments, local governments are going to have fewer of those dollars that they depended on in the past, and so new financing mechanisms to attract new capital that might not otherwise be there, I think we could see a marriage of opportunity in the future.

Secretary Peters wants to lift the prohibition of tolls on federally-funded highways, allowing the state or private contractor to collect tolls to pay for that road and other projects. Her proposal also calls for a pilot program that would allow up to five states to OPT OUT of the Federal-Aid Highway Program. Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison has already called for Texas to do just that.

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