Toll talk is spreading to AZ, PA

Arizona sec transport favors tolls talk.

Arizona sec transport favors tolls talk
Toll Road News
2006.07.14
AP quotes Victor Mendez director of the Arizona department of transportation as saying of proposals for toll financing: “I think it’s a great debate to have. I think it’s something that may actually enhance our ability to deliver more infrastructure.” (AP 2006-07-10)He doesn’t see how taxes can provide sufficient funding for road improvements in the state.

The debate was set off by Chuck Walton mayor of Casa Grande, a city to the south of Phoenix. Walton wants toll financing for a new north-south expressway located west of I-10 and heading in toward Phoenix.

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Then in PA:

Pennsylvania’s Rendell admin to consider toll concessions.

Pennsylvania’s Rendell admin to consider toll concessions
Toll Road News
2006.05.17
Pennsylvania Gov Ed Rendell (Dem) has said toll concessions “would be a great way to get money to put into immediate repair or construction.” He is quoted by AP answering a question at Harrisburg Region Chamber of Commerce May 15. He said the city of Chicago and Indiana have done concessions with major roadways and “that kind of transaction” could mean immediate money for building and improving other transport projects. He then proceeded, according to AP, to say it would be “at least a year” before his administration was ready to decide whether privatization of this kind was feasible and legislative support would be needed.

Geist in state House also interested

House and senate committees are both studying investor involvement by way of public private partnerships. House transp committee chair Rick Geist (Repub) is a strong supporter of concessions for new road projects in Pennsylvania. He said in an interview in his office last fall that he wants to see investors getting involved in all kinds of toll projects and other concessions for which the established Pennsylvania Turnpike is unsuited. They could move faster and more efficiently, he said.

But when we asked him if he favored privatizing the Turnpike itself his sunny disposition suddenly vanished and he said severely: “I wouldn’t change that at all. The Turnpike is fine as it is.”

Maybe it was our blunt language: “privatization.” Maybe if we’d finessed the words and asked about a “partnership with investors” or a “longterm lease” his answer would have been less rejectionist. But I doubt it. The guy is smart enough to see through the semantics. He wants to leave the Turnpike as it is.

When we asked Geist about Gov Rendell’s attitude toward investor roads, he said he hadn’t talked to the Governor yet. But he added: “He’d be crazy to be talking about this in an election year.”

Yet now he is talking about it – and not just for new roads but for the Turnpike. Of course his talk while generally upbeat is carefully nuanced.

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If only Texas were this fortunate. Minnesota lawmakers pass ANTI-TOLL bill!

http://www.tollroadsnews.com/cgi-bin/a.cgi/kVEmjubwEdqcEYJ61nsxIA

Anti-tolling bill HF886 passes state House in Minnesota
Toll Road News
2006.05.18

A bill to prohibit new tolling in the state has passed the Minnesota House of Representatives. HF886 and titled “Toll Facilities Prohibited” it states simply: ” BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: Neither the commissioner nor a local road authority may impose or authorize the imposition of a toll for the use of a bridge or a highway or highway lane. This section does not apply to any toll that was being collected on January 1, 2005.”

The bill also contains a routine “Repealer” which cancels existing authorities to impose tolls. It is described thus:

“1.1 A bill for an act

1.2 relating to highways; repealing authorization for

1.3 construction of toll roads; repealing authorization

1.4 for collecting tolls for single-occupant vehicle use

1.5 of high-occupancy vehicle lanes; prohibiting

1.6 imposition of tolls on existing roads or construction

1.7 of new toll roads; proposing coding for new law in

1.8 Minnesota Statutes, chapter 160; repealing Minnesota

1.9 Statutes 2004, sections 160.84; 160.85; 160.86;

1.10 160.87; 160.88; 160.89; 160.90; 160.91; 160.92; 160.93.”

Joint Repub/Dem sponsorship

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