The effects of tolls on the trucking industry

While tolls can be a constant source of revenue for road maintenance and improvement, they’ve also been heavily criticized by the trucking industry.

According to the CEO of YRC Worldwide Inc. Darren Hawkins, who spoke to the House Transportation and Infrastructure in 2019, polls have been harmful to the trucking industry.

In the testimony that he delivered on behalf of the American Trucking Associations, Hawkins specifically mentioned the multiple inefficiencies that plague tolls.

Citing toll collections, traffic diversions, and misdirection of funds, Hawkins believes that tolls should be replaced with alternate systems. 

“Tolling has very high collection costs relative to other highway user fees,” he said. “While the cost of collection has come down with the introduction of transponders, costs can still exceed 10 percent… Clearly, the waste that goes into collecting a toll is simply unacceptable when far more efficient alternatives are available. Our user fees should be used to build roads, not toll road bureaucracies.”

Another criticism coming from the industry has been the financial effects that tolls have on companies. Because of increases in toll charges throughout the last decade, revenues for tolls have skyrocketed 72.5%.

This data was discovered by the American Transportation Research Institute, who used 21 toll systems that represent 81% of all tolling revenues, according to Transport Topics.

Behind driver pay, the study also found that toll costs were the second-highest industry cost per mile metric. 

The study notes that in 2018, driver wages were measured at 59.6 cents per mile, and toll costs measured out at 45 cents per mile. 

Nevertheless, as of February 2020, plans are still going ahead to leverage tolls to improve infrastructure at the state level.  

For example, Michigan recently advanced a bill that plans to create a panel to “investigate the feasibility of charging tolls for roads and bridges,” according to Land Line. 

According to the bill, SB517, an independent consulting firm should be used to study the potential benefits or downfalls of implementing tolls.

However, as Michigan has made significant strides towards potentially implementing polls, states such as Connecticut and Wyoming have not managed to make much headway. 

Throughout both states, efforts to utilize tolls have either been rebuffed or completely abandoned. 

Overall, tolls have seemingly been divisive, to say the least. While they do have some unwanted effects on the trucking industry, they can be used to fix terrible infrastructure throughout the country. 

While breaking down a recent survey conducted by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), Land Line Magazine found that OOIDA members spend about $5,000 annually on damage repairs caused by suboptimal road conditions. 

Additionally, according to the American Transportation Research Institute, operational costs throughout the trucking industry due to overwhelming traffic cost a grand total of $74.5 billion.

The United States’ crumbling infrastructure is in need of some serious revamping, especially considering that the American Society of Civil Engineers graded American roads at a D grade.

Needless to say, if toll money is being allocated correctly, it could be an enormous boost for fixing America’s dilapidated roads and bridges. 

So, what do you think about tolls as a whole? Let us know in the comments or on social media!

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