Title 23 of the United States Code (Highways) includes a general prohibition on the imposition of tolls on Federal-aid highways. However, Title 23 and other statutes have also carved out certain exceptions to this policy. Two mainstream federal tolling programs and two pilot programs offer states opportunities to use tolling to generate revenue to support highway construction activities and implement priced managed lanes on federal-aid highways. Information on these different programs is provided below.
Federal Highway Tolling Programs FACT SHEET
Title 23 includes two mainstream tolling programs that have no restrictions on the number of projects or States that may receive tolling authority through them. Furthermore, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) removed the earlier requirement that State or local public agencies execute a tolling agreement with FHWA prior to imposing tolls.
The Section 129 General Tolling Program allows tolling on new highways and new lanes added to existing highways, and on the reconstruction or replacement of bridges, tunnels and existing toll facilities.
The Section 166 HOV/HOT program allows toll-paying vehicles not meeting the minimum occupancy standards to use high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes.
Participation in toll pilot programs is limited to a fixed number of slots authorized for each program. Project sponsors are required to submit an application to participate in these programs. They must also execute a toll agreement with FHWA to receive authorization to impose tolls under these programs.
Certain tolling and pricing strategies may be eligible for implementation under the mainstream tolling programs or one of the pilot programs. In such cases, FHWA prefers that the mainstream programs be used, thereby limiting request for participation in the pilot programs to situations that could not otherwise be accommodated.
This program allows up to three existing Interstate facilities (highway, bridge, or tunnel) to be tolled to fund needed reconstruction or rehabilitation on Interstate corridors that could not otherwise be adequately maintained or functionally improved without the collection of tolls.
This experimental program assesses the potential of different value pricing approaches for reducing congestion and is limited to 15 slots.
With the changes in tolling policies introduced by MAP-21, the following two toll pilot programs have been effectively replaced by the Section 129 General Tolling Program.
This program permitted tolling on up to 15 projects to manage congestion, reduce emissions in a non-attainment area, or finance new and existing Interstate lanes for the purposes of reducing congestion. It expired on September 30, 2012
This program authorizes up to three facilities on the Interstate System to establish tolls for the purpose of financing the construction of new Interstate highways. These activities are now mainstreamed in the Section 129 General Toll Program.Learn more about this program