Toll roads are set to boom under a $1 trillion infrastructure proposal being floated by Donald Trump.
Trump’s idea for rebuilding the nation’s crumbling roads and bridges relies on private companies instead of the federal government to back transportation projects. Investors will be drawn to projects that provide a return on their investment.
Outgoing Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx acknowledged in an exit memo this week that local governments may have to get creative when it comes to infrastructure funding solutions.
“In an era of limited budgets, state and local governments will have to utilize innovative, creative tools to meet their infrastructure needs,” Foxx said. “Traditional approaches to funding and delivering federally-funded transportation programs… may no longer be capable of providing Americans with a state of the art transportation system.”
Supporters of tolls say that it makes sense to charge motorists for the roads they use, as opposed to charging people at the pump with a gas tax increase to pay for deteriorating roads.
Some are concerned that infrastructure needs like repairing aging pipes, deepening ports or fixing existing roads and bridges may go neglected under Trump’s private financing plan and that it only focuses on urban areas.
“The vast majority of the critical infrastructure projects needed to move the country forward are a combination of repairs and incremental expansions,” Kevin DeGood, director of infrastructure policy for the Center for American Progress, wrote in a blog post last month.
“Unfortunately, the Trump infrastructure plan does nothing for these repair and incremental expansion projects. By focusing federal tax subsidies on revenue-generating mega projects in large urban areas, the plan leaves the rest of America’s infrastructure needs behind.”