What: All Issues : Environment : Global Warming : A vote on passage of a Republican amendment that would insert in the House highway bill (HR 3550) language that would permit tolls only on new voluntary-use lanes until the new lanes are paid for as opposed to letting those tolls to continue to operate in order to pay for routine road maintenance. (2004 house Roll Call 111)
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A vote on passage of a Republican amendment that would insert in the House highway bill (HR 3550) language that would permit tolls only on new voluntary-use lanes until the new lanes are paid for as opposed to letting those tolls to continue to operate in order to pay for routine road maintenance.
house Roll Call 111     Apr 02, 2004
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Loss

Among the amendments approved during two days of debate on the House version of the highway funding bill (HR 3550) was one offered by Rep. Mark Kennedy (R-Minn.) dealing with tolls on existing highways and expanding the ability to impose toll charges on motorists. Lauded by conservatives, the Kennedy amendment would replace a provision in the House highway bill to implement new tolls on existing congested highway lanes and continue charging tolls indefinitely, with language that would permit tolls only on new voluntary-use lanes until the new lanes are paid for. Progressives said the amendment, which provides that tolls from the new voluntary-use lanes would be dedicated to new highway capacity, was "misguided," and said the original language of the bill, which permits those tolls to continue to operate in order to pay for routine road maintenance, was a more equitable funding solution. Kennedy's amendment was adopted by a vote of 231-193, thus altering HR 3550 to allow new congestion tolls only on new voluntary-use lanes, and would mandate that once construction of the new lane was paid for, the toll would end. Kennedy said surveys indicate that drivers are willing to pay tolls for improved roads but that support for tolls drops when the money would be used for routine maintenance or for other purposes. The largest national organization representing drivers, the American Automobile Association, takes a dim view of tolling on most roads - but especially on congested roads where such tolls become a "very regressive tax," AAA says, since most drivers would avoid those lanes if they could, but are forced to use them to get to and from work.

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