White House proposal could allow tolls along Ga. interstates

by: Justin Gray Updated:

The thought of a toll booth on the downtown connector seems like an off the wall idea and it's actually prohibited by federal law right now. But a proposal by the White House could turn roads you drive everyday into roads you have to pay for.

WASHINGTON - Could the interstate highways you drive everyday soon require a toll??
 

The Obama administration just proposed a new law that would make that a possibility.
 
Channel 2’s Justin Gray learned that the president's new transportation bill would allow states to turn highways like Interstate 85 or Interstate 75 into toll roads.
 
The thought of a toll booth on the downtown connector seems like an off the wall idea and it's actually prohibited by federal law right now.
 
  “It’s not a mandate. The administration is not forcing states to put tolls on interstate, highways. They're just giving them the opportunity to do so,” said Patrick Jones, head of the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association.
 
Right now, most road and bridge repairs are paid for with money from the federal highway trust. But it’s running out of cash. It’s set to be empty by August.
 
“It will cost more than $1 trillion to rebuild the interstate highways and most of that will come from the states,” Jones said.
 
A spokesman for the Secretary of Transportation told Gray this would give states an extra revenue source to pay for repairs on the country's aging interstate highways.
 
But critics like Georgia Rep. Doug Collins say it’s a bad idea that will cost commuters time and money.
 
“I think it takes away the ability and mobility we have now. People would be congesting smaller roads getting around tolls, doing those kinds of things,” Collins said.
 
The proposal is part of the president's $302 billion infrastructure bill. It's fate is now in the hands of Congress.