This week, Elaine Chao, Transportation Secretary, announced the plan for putting tolls on more roads and bridges to make the necessary infrastructure improvements.
She had not made it clear if she intends to increase tolling on the already tolled interstate or in general.
One of Trump’s main campaign promises was to give big tax credits to private infrastructure investment so they can raise $1 trillion for roads and bridges.
Trump reiterated this on Tuesday during his joint address to Congress saying, “To launch our national rebuilding, I will be asking Congress to approve legislation that produces a $1 trillion investment in infrastructure of the United States.”
He stated that the money would be raised “through both public and private capital, creating millions of new jobs.”
On Tuesday night, during Chao’s appearance on Fox News after Trump’s joint address, Chao said, “The federal government cannot assume the cost for all of it.” She also said that in order to find funding they have to think of “new and innovative ways.”
She said that Trump had “exciting and novel ideas about how to finance” 3.7 trillion by 2020 for the infrastructure needs.
“Public-private partnerships are a very important part of a new way of financing our roads and bridges,” she said.
When asked if there would be new tolls, Chao responded, “that is certainly one example of how that would work.”
“I have to say that there are some people who may not support toll roads,” Chao said, “but we have to take a look at all of these financing mechanisms, because once again, the needs of our infrastructure are so great that the federal government cannot and should not be the only source of funding to repair our bridges, our roads, and our energy grids.”
Like many big projects, Trump’s idea of getting private investment to build roads and bridges would be a challenge because the countryside roads would not bring in as much revenue as urban roads. Also, there is a strong bipartisan opposition to placing tolls on interstates.
Chao has not been seen since she took the position and when reporters asked her staff about the toll percentage, and if more roads would be tolled, her staff refused to answer.
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