by Robert W. Poole Jr.
September 17, 2013
The Interstate highway system is America’s most important surface transportation system. The need for massive investment to transform the first-generation Interstate into what this report calls Interstate 2.0 occurs just as our 20th-century highway funding system—based on fuel taxes and state and federal highway trust funds—is running out of gas. This study seeks to address both problems: replacing the aging Interstate system with a 21st-century Interstate 2.0 and taking the first major step toward implementing mileage-based user fees. To make the transition attractive to highway users, the study proposes it be implemented on the principle of “value-added tolling.” That means tolls would only be introduced in a corridor once it was reconstructed and modernized, designed to operate at a higher “level of service” than today’s design standards call for. America needs a second-generation Interstate highway system. The one needed enabler is permission from Congress to begin this transition.