Taking Its Toll
Today, the bipartisan National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission finally released its 258-page report, titled Transportation for Tomorrow, which is supposed to pave the way for the country's highways and byways. The commission's been at this for two years; it was in Dallas at the downtown Hyatt, matter of fact, in September 2006 for two days of hearings, the transcripts from which are available here. And given the pending "looming crisis" facing the highway system, what does the report say, at long last?
Well, it calls for a "major restructuring" of the U.S. Department of Transportation, for starters. And raising gas taxes and other transportation tariffs. And private companies building and operating toll roads. And nationwide "uniform" electronic toll collecting, which is already in the works for the North Texas Tollway Authority, says the report: "Electronic toll collection is planned for several new toll roads in Texas and HOT lanes in northern Virginia, Miami, Dallas, and for existing toll roads operated by the North Texas Tollway Authority and the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority." Which means, says the report, no more tollbooths. --Robert Wilonsky