Kay Bailey Hutchison may become the best friend trucking has. The Texas senator has introduced a bill (S. 1115) into the U.S. Senate that would prohibit states, private entities and private-public partnerships from adding tolls on federal highways, bridges or tunnels that are built with federal funding.
Hutchison, the ranking Republican member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, believes it’s unfair to charge motorists for use of the highway via tolls on roads they already paid for through taxes.
“I believe taxing Americans twice for the same asset is fundamentally unfair, and I oppose any effort to place tolls on existing interstate highways,” said Hutchison. “As we work to meet our transportation needs, we must think broadly and avoid band-aid solutions, like tolling, that will ultimately exacerbate congestion and divert traffic into residential neighborhoods and onto smaller, less safe roads.”
This is a battle Hutchison has been fighting for a long time, dating back to at least 1995. The fight continues this year. In April, the senator introduced the Highway Fairness and Reform Act of 2009 that would allow states to opt-out of the federal highway program, which distributes funds on a revenue-sharing basis. The bill would ensure that fuel taxes generated within a state stay within that state.
“Washington shouldn’t take Texas tax dollars and send them to other states,” Hutchison wrote. “Likewise, Texans shouldn’t be charged time and time again to drive on roads they already paid for with their hard earned tax dollars.”
While Hutchison has Texas’ best interests at heart with these bills, the benefits to the rest of the country are endless. From improved roads to lower transportation costs, trucking would be the beneficiary.