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Transportation Transformation Group White Paper on Implementing MAP-21 Tolling and HOV Provisions

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The Transportation Transformation Group (T2) is a non-profit group built around a consensus that federal surface transportation policies demand a transformation that emphasizes congestion relief, increased safety, and the efficient movement of goods to America's transportation customers. Our members include departments of transportation of Texas, Florida, Indiana, Utah, New Hampshire, the North Texas Tollway Authority, Port of Houston, Pioneer Institute, Reason Foundation, Cintra US, Dannenbaum Engineering, HDR Engineering, Inc., Nossaman LLP, International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, Barclays Capital, Wells Fargo, Goldman, Sachs & Co., HNTB Corp., JP Morgan, Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Piper Jaffray, Morgan Stanley, Siebert Brandford & Shank and Citi.

Congress and President Barack Obama have enacted the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP–21), focusing policy on solutions that free state ingenuity and reduce restrictions on innovation. T2 suggests that these concepts should remain at the forefront of the U.S. Department of Transportation's efforts to implement the new law.

MAP-21 significantly expands the scope of permitted tolling on the Interstate System, with the caveat that the number of toll-free non-HOV lanes may not decrease as a result of the construction of such new capacity. The bill authorizes new capacity tolling on highways, bridges or tunnels that are not on the Interstate System, again with the caveat that the number of toll-free lanes does not decrease. Specifically, the bill authorizes federal participation in projects for the:

  • Initial construction of a toll highway, bridge, or tunnel or approach to the highway, bridge or tunnel;
  • Initial construction of lanes or other improvements that increase capacity of a highway, bridge, or tunnel and conversion of that highway, bridge, or tunnel to a tolled facility, if the number of toll-free lanes after construction is not less than the number of toll-free lanes before construction;
  • Reconstruction, resurfacing, restoration, rehabilitation, or replacement of a toll highway, bridge, or tunnel;
  • Reconstruction or replacement of a toll-free bridge or tunnel and conversion of the bridge or tunnel to a toll facility;
  • Reconstruction of a toll-free Federal-aid highway (other than a highway on the Interstate System) and conversion of the highway to a toll facility;
  • Reconstruction, restoration, or rehabilitation of a highway on the Interstate System if the number of toll-free non-HOV lanes after reconstruction, restoration, or rehabilitation is not less than the number of toll-free non-HOV lanes before reconstruction, restoration or rehabilitation;
  • Conversion of a high occupancy vehicle lane on a highway, bridge, or tunnel to a toll facility; and
  • Preliminary studies to determine the feasibility of a toll facility for which Federal participation is authorized.

MAP-21 removes the requirement that parties execute a §129 agreement; MAP-21 codifies the substantive requirements, making the provision self-executing. The provisions also make it unnecessary to extend or expand the Interstate System Construction Toll Pilot Program, which will continue to run until its 2015 expiration date under SAFETEA-LU.

Finally, MAP-21 allows the conversion of HOV lanes to tolled lanes as part of the reconstruction, restoration or rehabilitation of a highway on the Interstate System and authorizes the conversion of HOV lanes on a non-Interstate facility to a toll facility. It modifies existing law to impose sanctions for failure to bring an HOV facility into compliance within 180 days using the authorized measures specified, establishing policy to maintain reasonable speeds in HOV lanes.

Given the shrinking resources available to state and local agencies to invest in the transportation system, T2 suggests that USDOT steadfastly implement these provisions in order to allow for continued system expansion. T2 hopes to work in cooperation with USDOT to maintain the tolling and HOV provisions enacted by MAP-21.

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