At the U.S. Travel Association’s “Connecting America Through Travel Conference,” Patrick Jones, executive director and CEO of the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) – the worldwide association representing toll facility owners, operators and businesses that serve them – called on the travel industry to embrace tolling to help combat increasing congestion across the United States. Tolling has proven itself as a viable option designed to address our nation’s transportation funding challenge.
“The simple truth is that our roads are never fully paid for and ignoring the transportation funding crisis we have in America doesn’t make it go away. In fact, it exacerbates the economic problems while congestion continues to grow in many parts of our country,” said Jones. “The time has come for our elected leaders and the travel industry as leaders in their communities to more-widely embrace alternative funding options such as user-fees. A user-fee, such as tolling, is a proven funding method that helps cut congestion, drives economic growth and allows communities to keep their transportation funding dollars locally.”
Jones’ comments came during a panel discussion hosted by the U.S. Travel Association focusing on federal policies and infrastructure investments that can decrease congestion and improve highway travel times along major Interstate corridors. As part of the panel, the U.S. Travel Association released a new map of the United States that’s based on highway travel times instead of distance. As congestion and highway travel times increase, the distance between any two cities will grow. This distorted map of the United States will show that cities are, in effect, growing farther and farther apart as a result of worsening congestion along major Interstate corridors.
Jones joined some of the nation’s leading transportation voices including U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, former Secretary Ray LaHood, and former Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell.