Group launches push for tolling expansion

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In the last transportation bill, which carries road and transit funding through the end of fiscal year 2014, lawmakers used a package of increasing fees and closing tax loopholes to cover the almost $20 billion short fall.

New House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) has recently referred to the funding gap as a "transportation fiscal cliff."

Shuster has expressed openness to considering tolling as a possible transportation funding sources. However, in his first comments to reporters as House Transportation Committee Chairman, Shuster expressed concerned that tolling might be a tough sale in many parts of the country.
 
"Tolling is something we need to probably take a look at," Shuster said in late November. "If I talk to all 50 [state governors], they'd say 'yeah, let's toll the whole thing.'"

But Shuster said he was not in favor of a universal application of tolling.

"I don't think that's reasonable to go out there and just say we're going to toll the entire interstate highway system," he said. "As I tell people, we think it's hard to raise … the gas tax, go tell the people, especially out west, they call them freeways, they're not going to be free anymore."   

Congress has thus far limited tolling on existing roads to new lanes that are being constructed.