Yonah Freemark at the Metropolitan Planning Council’s Connector blog got to sit down recently with U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. Formerly the mayor of Charlotte, Foxx has been at the helm of U.S. DOT for nearly a year now, but we’re still getting to know him.
Freemark talked to Foxx about a number of topics that are near and dear to the hearts of urbanists. Here’s a look at one of the secretary’s more intriguing answers:
Foxx was receptive to the idea of tolling our existing Interstate highways, a practice that is currently banned in many states by federal law: “Given the situation at the federal level with the uncertainty of funding the Highway Trust Fund… we do believe that part of our responsibility is to help states and local project sponsors develop new options, new sources of revenue… We would never tell a state or a local project sponsor to toll but that optionality is increasingly becoming something that states are interested in, and we’ll consider finding ways to help when that’s an option that states want to consider.”
In other words, if Congress, states and local governments develop support for new revenues — whether that means an increased fuel tax, a vehicle-miles traveled fee or more tolling — the U.S. Dept. of Transportation is likely not to oppose them. The secretary, moreover, emphasized the importance of public-private partnerships, saying, “We certainly want the private markets thinking about ways to plow their assets into American infrastructure.”
Elsewhere on the Network today: The Wash Cycle caught the transit supervisor of Arlington County, Virginia, parking in the bike lane. Urban Velo shares a first-hand account from someone who biked past the scene of a collision in which a cyclist was killed. And Bike Portland reports that in Oregon, flashing crosswalk beacons are “the safety tool of the moment.”