President's Highway-Bill Draft Testing Tolls, User Fees

Administration's draft of a surface transportation bill is testing political waters on contentious proposals such as funding roads with tolls and user fees

A draft of a six-year surface transportation funding bill released late last week by the Obama administration seeks to allow state and local governments more flexibility to impose roadway and bridge tolls and also proposes to create a study group to examine the feasibility of moving to mileage-based user fees as an alternative to using fuel taxes to fund infrastructure needs.

The 60-plus page draft of the bill – dubbed theTransportation Opportunities Act – is being characterized in many circles as a “trial balloon” by the administration to test the political waters on several potentially contentious proposals, especially the wider use of tolls.

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