EXCLUSIVE: Trump Infrastructure Plan Allows Tolling Existing Interstates

Hidden deep within President Trump's hundred page infrastructure improvement bill is a provision that could cost San Antonio commuters a bundle, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

On page 20 of the bill, 'Part 2, Additional Provisions for Infrastructure Improvements,' is a provision allowing states the right to slap tolls on existing federal Interstate highways, like I-10 and I-35.

"Providing states flexibility to toll existing Interstates would generate additional revenues for states to invest in surface transportation infrastructure," the report said.

But anti toll activists like Terri Hall of Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom are crying foul, and praising 1200 WOAI news for exposing that obscure portion of the proposal.

Hall says the proposal is a 'betrayal of the public trust.'

"We already build those Interstates, quit trying to pay a toll to get them fixed," Hall said.  "We already pay a user fee, and that's the gasoline tax."

Texas had flirted with slapping tolls on existing Interstates for years as a way to raise revenue to build existing highways, until then U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison managed to pass a law in the late 1990s to prohibit the practice.  It is believed that Texas officials would jump at the chance to put tolls on existing highways if the Trump plan overturns that prohibition.

Hall says the proposal coming from the Trump White House runs contrary to the President's campaign pledges to his 'Make America Great Again' blue collar base.

"Trump of all people, who catered to the working class, is throwing his voters under the bus by advocating tolls," Hall said.

The Trump proposal calls for adjusting existing federal laws covering Interstate highways to 'align with current toll authorities to free these resources and allow other critical highway projects to go forward."

Actually, the Trump infrastructure plan is packed with 'nickel and dime' charges for citizens.  It also includes extra 'passenger facility charges to fly out of 'non hub airports' like San Antonio International, it allows states to charge for use of Interstate Highway Rest Areas (but would prohibit charging fees to use the rest rooms), and includes several incentives for private companies to help pay for urban public transportation programs, including light rail.

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