ITE Journal February 2018 - 14

| op/ed
WHY THE UPTICK IN TOLL ROADS?
It seems like we continue to hear of new
toll roads opening across the United States
and talk of more in the works. According to
the Federal Highway Administration's Office
of Highway Policy Information, there were
nearly 6,000 miles of toll roads across the
country as of January 2015.
Last year, 2017, was a banner year for Express
Toll Lanes, despite populous opposition in
Charlotte, NC, USA and parts of Texas. At least
eight new facilities opened to drivers in 2017
with more under construction, or about to
start. On top of that, another dozen new projects have been announced in eight states.
Meanwhile, several states have been using
high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes, including
Virginia (since 2014), California (since 1996),
Florida (since 1998), Minnesota (since 2004),
and Texas (since 1998).
The largest toll roads project financed in
2017 was the $3.5 billion I-66 project in
Northern Virginia. This past fall, Maryland's
Governor Hogan announced a $9 billion
highway expansion project that includes
construction of toll roads in Maryland along
I-270, the Capital Beltway, and the Baltimore/
Washington Parkway. This was the largest toll
roads project announced over the past year.
Based on these trends, Express Toll Lanes
appear to be a lot more flexible than High
Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes.

Why the Increase?
But why so many new toll projects popping up across the country? It is important
to understand several things, including the
Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ)
Standards that have been enacted by the
Federal Government. This requirement is
designed to improve the overall average fuel
economy for an automobile manufacturing
company's entire fleet of vehicles. But, it continues to change. In 2012 the CAFÉ Standard
14

Februar y 2018

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was 36 miles per gallon (mpg), meaning all
of the vehicles had to average 36 mpg. Thus,
higher efficiency cars, smaller vehicles, and
electric vehicles would help to boost that
CAFÉ Standard. In 2020, the CAFÉ Standard is
estimated at 48 mpg, and by 2025, the CAFÉ
Standard could be over 60 mpg.
Therefore, as fuel economy increases in the
overall automobile fleet, gas tax revenue
generated from gasoline is going to continue
to drop. It will get to the point where electric
vehicles, one day, become a large portion of
the automobile fleet and the amount of gasoline used will continue to drop. As gasoline
utilization drops, so does the gas tax revenue.
By increasing mpg per vehicle, the federal
government ends up reducing gasoline tax
revenue. We need an alternative that can
supplement the gasoline tax and, ultimately,
replace it.
As part of the proposed $9 billion highway
expansion project in Maryland that was
announced last year, the governor wisely
decided that one of the best ways to replace
the gas tax typically used to fix and maintain
Maryland's road system is to build toll roads
using Public Private Partnerships (P3s). He
also suggested using congestion pricing to
determine the actual toll cost.
The idea is to charge a toll during peak times,
or when it is more likely to be congested.
Maryland currently has congestion pricing
on the HOT lanes along I-95 on the east side
of Baltimore and on the InterCounty Connector (ICC). In addition to the new I-66 express
lanes right outside of our nation's capital,
congestion pricing is also in place in San
Diego, California, and through an altered version in Miami, FL, USA.
Congestion pricing can apply to both HOT
lanes, which are typically adjacent to general purpose lanes, and also to dedicated toll
roads. Congestion pricing could also occur

shutterstock/Jaren Jai Wicklund

By Wes Guckert, PTP

for bridges. That means during periods of
peak use, tolls would be used as a way to
encourage cars to find alternate routes or
times to travel.
But, while they are often criticized as "Lexus
Lanes," do toll roads and congestion pricing
really work? Indeed they do. As an example,
along I-95 in Fairfax County, Virginia, there
has been an average of 25 percent reduced
delay in the general purpose lanes during
commuting times. Those not involved in
congestion pricing are reaping the rewards
of those that are in the HOT lanes.
On a typical Thursday morning, I-95 express
lanes offer significant time savings to all
drivers. The general-purpose lanes may
run 18-50 minutes as you travel around
the Washington, DC Beltway, whereas the
I-495 express lanes can often be less than a
10-minute drive-a big difference during
the morning rush!
Keep in mind, congestion pricing can
encourage mass transit use, or even carpooling. And the United States isn't alone
with congestion pricing. Places like London,
Norway, Singapore, and Sweden have successfully implemented toll roads centered on
congestion pricing.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ITE Journal February 2018

President’s Message
Director’s Message
People in the Profession
News
Op/Ed: Why the Uptick in Toll Roads?
Op/Ed: The P3 Paradox
Where in the World?
Calendar
2018 ITE Collegiate Traffic Bowl Kicks Off
Technical Programs Division Spotlight
Member to Member: Gary F. Duncan
Member to Member: Kate Whitfield, P.Eng., MCIP, RPP
New Products
Industry News
Breaking Barriers to Bike Share: Lessons on Bike Share Equity
The Value of Vanpooling as a Strategic, Cost-effective, and Sustainable Transportation Option
Delivering Impactful Projects Quickly and Effectively
Trip and Parking Generation for Shopping Centers in Jordan
Professional Services Directory
ITE Journal February 2018 - 1
ITE Journal February 2018 - 2
ITE Journal February 2018 - 3
ITE Journal February 2018 - President’s Message
ITE Journal February 2018 - 5
ITE Journal February 2018 - Director’s Message
ITE Journal February 2018 - 7
ITE Journal February 2018 - People in the Profession
ITE Journal February 2018 - 9
ITE Journal February 2018 - News
ITE Journal February 2018 - 11
ITE Journal February 2018 - 12
ITE Journal February 2018 - 13
ITE Journal February 2018 - Op/Ed: Why the Uptick in Toll Roads?
ITE Journal February 2018 - 15
ITE Journal February 2018 - Op/Ed: The P3 Paradox
ITE Journal February 2018 - 17
ITE Journal February 2018 - 18
ITE Journal February 2018 - 19
ITE Journal February 2018 - Calendar
ITE Journal February 2018 - 21
ITE Journal February 2018 - 2018 ITE Collegiate Traffic Bowl Kicks Off
ITE Journal February 2018 - Technical Programs Division Spotlight
ITE Journal February 2018 - Member to Member: Gary F. Duncan
ITE Journal February 2018 - 25
ITE Journal February 2018 - Member to Member: Kate Whitfield, P.Eng., MCIP, RPP
ITE Journal February 2018 - 27
ITE Journal February 2018 - Industry News
ITE Journal February 2018 - 29
ITE Journal February 2018 - 30
ITE Journal February 2018 - Breaking Barriers to Bike Share: Lessons on Bike Share Equity
ITE Journal February 2018 - 32
ITE Journal February 2018 - 33
ITE Journal February 2018 - 34
ITE Journal February 2018 - 35
ITE Journal February 2018 - The Value of Vanpooling as a Strategic, Cost-effective, and Sustainable Transportation Option
ITE Journal February 2018 - 37
ITE Journal February 2018 - 38
ITE Journal February 2018 - 39
ITE Journal February 2018 - Delivering Impactful Projects Quickly and Effectively
ITE Journal February 2018 - 41
ITE Journal February 2018 - 42
ITE Journal February 2018 - 43
ITE Journal February 2018 - 44
ITE Journal February 2018 - Trip and Parking Generation for Shopping Centers in Jordan
ITE Journal February 2018 - 46
ITE Journal February 2018 - 47
ITE Journal February 2018 - 48
ITE Journal February 2018 - 49
ITE Journal February 2018 - Professional Services Directory
ITE Journal February 2018 - 51
ITE Journal February 2018 - 52
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