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Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU)

Fact Sheets on Highway Provisions


  2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Interstate System R&R Toll Pilot $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Interstate System Construction Toll Pilot $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Value Pricing Pilot $11 M $12 M $12M $12M $12M
Express Lanes Demo $0 $0 $0 $0 $0

Program Purpose

SAFETEA-LU offers States broader ability to use tolling on a pilot, or demonstration, basis, to finance Interstate construction and reconstruction, promote efficiency in the use of highways, and support congestion reduction. In addition to the expanded flexibility available under these four programs, the Value Pricing Pilot program provides grants for pre-implementation and implementation costs.

Note: SAFETEA-LU also enhances and clarifies provisions governing the use and operation of HOV lanes. See separate fact sheet – High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lanes [1121]

Statutory References

SAFETEA-LU Section(s): 1604

Other: PL 102-240 (ISTEA) 1012; PL 105-578 (TEA-21) 1216

Interstate System Reconstruction & Rehabilitation Toll Pilot Program

SAFETEA-LU makes no revisions to the program as established under TEA-21. Thus, the program is continued, without change, to allow tolling on up to 3 existing Interstate facilities (highway, bridge, or tunnel) to fund needed reconstruction or rehabilitation on Interstate highway corridors that could not otherwise be adequately maintained or functionally improved. Each of the 3 facilities must be in a different State.

Interstate System Construction Toll Pilot Program

Similar to the Interstate System R&R Pilot (above), this new program authorizes up to 3 toll pilot facilities on the Interstate System for the purpose of constructing new Interstate highways.

Program features include the following:

  • States or Interstate compacts of States are eligible to apply;
  • there is no requirement that the facilities be in different States;
  • tolling must be the most efficient and economical way to finance the project, but it doesn't have to be the only way;
  • a facility management plan must be submitted;
  • automatic toll collection is required;
  • non-compete agreements are prohibited -- a State may not enter into an agreement with a private entity that prevents the State from improving or expanding capacity of adjacent roads to address conditions resulting from diverted traffic;
  • revenues may be used only for debt service, reasonable return on investment of private entity, and operation and maintenance costs; regular audits will be conducted;
  • Interstate Maintenance funds may not be used on the facility while it is tolled;
  • applications must be submitted within 10 years of enactment of SAFETEA-LU.

Value Pricing Pilot Program (VPPP)

This pilot program, initially authorized in ISTEA as the Congestion Pricing Pilot Program, is to encourage implementation and evaluation of value pricing pilot projects, offering flexibility to encompass a variety of innovative applications including areawide pricing, pricing of multiple or single facilities or corridors, single lane pricing, and implementation of other market-based strategies.

The VPPP is funded by contract authority, to remain available for 4 years. Funds are subject to the overall Federal-aid highway obligation limitation. The Federal share is 80%. Pre-implementation costs, project design, and all development and start-up costs are eligible project expenses. There is no change to the current limit of 15 pilot value pricing programs, all of which are underway. For these programs, a new set-aside of $3 million per year (2006-2009) is to be used only for congestion pricing pilot projects that do not involve highway tolls.

Express Lanes Demonstration Program

This new demonstration programs permits tolling on selected demonstration projects to manage high levels of congestion, reduce emissions in a nonattainment or maintenance area, or finance added Interstate lanes for the purpose of reducing congestion.

The Secretary is authorized to carry out 15 demonstration projects during the period from 2005-2009 to allow States, public authorities, or public or private entities designated by States to collect a toll from motor vehicles at an eligible toll facility for any highway, bridge, or tunnel, including on the Interstate. An "eligible toll facility" includes:

  • a facility in existence on the date of enactment that collects tolls;
  • a facility in existence on the date of enactment that serves high occupancy vehicles;
  • a facility modified or constructed after the date of enactment to create additional tolled capacity (includes construction by a private entity or using private funds); and
  • in the case of an added lane on a previously non-tolled facility, only the new lane.

Program features include:

  • variable pricing by time of day or level of traffic, as appropriate to manage congestion or improve air quality, is required if an HOV facility is tolled; for a non-HOV facility, variable pricing is optional;
  • motor vehicles with fewer than 2 occupants may be permitted to use HOV lanes as part of a variable toll pricing program;
  • automatic toll collection is required in express lanes to optimize free flow of traffic; and
  • toll revenue may only be used for debt service, reasonable rate of return on private financing, operation and maintenance costs, or any eligible title 23 or 49 project if the facility is being adequately maintained.

Federal share of project cost of a facility tolled under this program, including installation of the toll collection facility, not to exceed 80%.

A final rule on interoperability of electronic collection systems is required within 180 days of enactment. Regular monitoring and reporting on the achievement of performance goals is required, as well as annual reports to Congress starting after 1 year on the use of funds, and reports on program successes beginning 3 years after enactment and then every 3 years thereafter.

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