Robert Poole on Why Conservatives Should Embrace Obama's Plan to Use Tolling to Rebuild Interstate Highways


Credit: White House /

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx says the Highway Trust Fund is going to run out of money in August, and President Barack Obama is spending this week pushing his infrastructure plans. If Congress doesn't come up with the money to patch the shortfall, many states will likely start cutting back transportation projects, so the looming deadline is prompting an embarrassment of gimmicks and bad ideas, which range from raising the federal gas tax to cutting unrelated programs to pay for one year of highway funding.

While there are a lot of things to disagree with in the president's transportation plans, writes Robert Poole, the most sensible long-term solution for the Interstate Highway System is actually coming from the Obama administration, which is calling for allowing states to use toll revenue to finance the reconstruction of aging Interstate highways. As Poole explains, this approach would actually give states more control, tap the private sector's capital, and move the country closer to the Tea Party's user-pays principles. Conservatives should embrace this plan.