U.S. Look For New Tools to Pay for Highways’ Expansion and Repair image

As government searches for alternatives to expand and repair the US congested highways, drivers will pay even more tolls.

Tolling is not such an efficient alternative, as motorists may choose side roads to evade paying, increasing the traffic on that routes. Although tolls are not the perfect solution, there are only two options available: tolls and gasoline taxes.

“It’s very hard in this environment for states to add capacity without charging a toll because they can’t afford to do it,” said Joshua Schank, president of the Eno Center for Transportation. “They’re barely able to maintain what they’ve got, and there is an urgent need for capacity.”

In 2009, a commission created by Congress to find ways to pay for the nation’s transportation system upkeep, predicted that the U.S. will have to deal with unseen congestion unless it spends more. The Congress also said that the government spends a cumulative $137 billion less annually than is necessary to maintain and expand the current system. If no solution is found, by 2035 there will be a $2 trillion-plus backlog.

Now, the U.S. agreed to pilot toll projects on Interstate 95 in Virginia and North Carolina and on Interstate 70 in Missouri, in addition to the existing ones on Interstates in 15 states, mostly in the Northeast and Midwest.