A growing nationwide trend toward toll roads could see more of themrolling out in Florida. Under a new federal program that allows selected interstatehighways to be reconstructed with tolls, Virginia will add tollsalong the I-95 corridor and Missouri will toll its stretch of I-70. Gov. Rick Scott hailed the extension of toll lanes on I-95 intoBroward County last year, saying the move benefits all motorists. |
"It took the rush-hour traffic for the nontolled lanes from 25 mphto 45 (mph). So for people not paying the toll it was a big benefit[too]," Scott said in a series of radio interviews last year. "We're going to start doing that across the state," the governorsaid. On cue, Florida Department of Transportation Secretary AnanthPrasad says he wants a private company to build four middle tolllanes on I-4 through Orlando.
Under his plan, the company wouldoperate the lanes for 30 years. The number of free lanes on the heavily traveled stretch wouldremain the same, officials said. With little or no public appetite for raising gasoline taxes -- themain source for highway funding -- tolls appear to be taking theinside track. A recent Reason Foundation poll has found that people are morewilling to pay tolls than increased fuel taxes, by a margin of 58percent to 28 percent.
The newly formed U.S. Tolling Coalition says many interstates arenearing the end of their 50-year design life, and that upgrades areneeded. The prospect of more toll revenue has, naturally, spawnedconflicting ideas over who should control the money. Two recentstudies argued for diametrically opposed models.
One, from a cost-saving task force commissioned by Scott,recommends a consolidation of toll road authorities in the state. Matt Falconer, a member of the Government Efficiency Task Force,calls the current arrangement a debt-ridden "Ponzi scheme" withinefficiencies that could lead to $10 tolls. The second study, by the libertarian-oriented Reason Foundation,said toll agencies should be freed from FDOT supervision "so theycan better meet local needs." Florida has long been a national leader with its local tollingauthority model, said Robert Poole, one of the principal authorsof the Reason study. Other states, like Texas, embrace thismodel, and for Florida to create a bigger government bureaucracywould be a mistake. The study disputed claims that consolidation will net as much as$24 million in annual cost reductions.
Reason said most of thosesavings have already been realized through collaboration amonglocal authorities and contracting with private-sector vendors. The Reason study, funded through a grant from Associated Industriesof Florida, argued that greater autonomy for local toll authoritieswould foster "strong, self-supporting urban toll agencies and levelthe playing field for all tolling agencies." Skeptics of the consolidation model worry that it would boostborrowing capacity to $5 billion and give a centralized authorityundue latitude to embark on controversial or nonessential tollprojects, such as state Sen. J.D. Alexander's long-sought HeartlandParkway running south from Polk County.
Suspicious of previous attempts at toll-authority consolidation,critics estimate Heartland would cost two to three times more thanthe $1.8 billion Wekiva Parkway around Orlando. Whichever model moves forward, Scott said Florida can designatetoll lanes on federal highways as long as the state adds a newlane. Contact Kenric Ward at or at (772) 801-5341.
We are high quality suppliers, our products such as China PET Bottle Mould , China PP Preform Mould for oversee buyer. To know more, please visits PP Preform Mould.
Related Articles -
China PET Bottle Mould, China PP Preform Mould,