(SOURCE: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) has partnered again this year with the Alliance for Toll Free Interstates (ATFI). ATFI is a national coalition comprised of individuals, businesses, and organizations working to maintain the longstanding policy of protecting existing interstates from new tolls.
As a partner, TCA is working with like-minded businesses and organizations to push back against tolls. To date, ATFI and TCA have been working diligently to fight tolls in several different states.
Rhode Island is leading the charge when it comes to abusing tolling policy and creating harmful transportation solutions. In the winter of 2016, Rhode Island passed RhodeWorks, a bill to create an entire network of new tolls across the state. The plan exploits a federal exemption that is meant to repair lone, ailing bridges to instead create a statewide tolling system. The implementation so far has been rocky, with RI facing both constitutional and legal hurdles—including the American Trucking Associations filing a federal lawsuit against the state.
Taking its lead from Rhode Island’s use of the federal bridge exemption, Indiana began to look at tolling its highways in 2017. A 2017 transportation package passed by the Indiana General Assembly allowed for the study and consideration of tolling practically all major Indiana highways.
After months of debate, in November 2018, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb announced he would not move forward with adding tolls on Indiana roads. ATFI was central to pushing the anti-tolls message in Indiana. Since 2017, ATFI has run www.NoTollsIndiana.com and www.Facebook.com/notollsindiana. The campaign continues to encourage Hoosiers to oppose tolls in Indiana through emails and social media. Their website petition has received more than 3,700 signatures and over 1,000 emails to Indiana legislators have been generated.
The most recent state to look at new tolls is Virginia. In Summer 2018, the Virginia Department of Transportation created the Interstate-81 Corridor Improvement Plan which offered the General Assembly two financing options for fixing I-81, one of which was tolling. The General Assembly chose to pursue tolling in January 2019, and once the bills were announced, ATFI launched www.keeptollsoff81.com. ATFI used social media to drive users to the website where more than 2,000 people have sent over 5,700 letters to the Governor and state legislators. Both tolling bills have recently been changed to further study financing options for I-81 for another year, pushing the tolls issue off until 2020.
ATFI and TCA will continue to work together to stop tolls from spreading across the country. For more information, visit the ATFI website.