Louisiana Sec Transp W Ankner says road financing must move to tolls
By Peter Samuel
Louisiana secretary of transportation William D Ankner says the states must move to tolls and other direct user fees if mobility is to be maintained and improved in the US.
"We cannot continue to fund our vital transportation assets by taxing a fuel that is unsustainable. Transportation agencies in America must move to tolling and other direct user fees to support transportation and much needed mobility," Ankner said during a maintenance committee conference of the International Bridge Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) in New Orleans earlier this week.
"High occupancy toll lanes (HOT lanes) and other forms of variable road charging will play an increasingly important role in efforts to relieve congestion in densely populated metropolitan areas."
Ankner said toll facilities are far better maintained than tax supported ones: "Your contribution to the life of our assets is without parallel."
"In this era of constrained government revenues and a worldwide crisis in credit markets, preserving our existing assets is imperative...Good maintenance is at the heart of a sustainable and socially responsible transportation system. Maintenance professionals in the toll industry are leading the way in innovation and have many positive lessons to share with state departments of transportation across the country."
Ankner is a recent appointee to secretary of transportation by the new free market oriented governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal.
He has a long history of diverse senior positions in transport policy - consultant in Missouri, director the DOT in Rhode Island, director of finance at Delaware DOT, director of policy at New Jersey DOT, executive director of the Missouri Transportation Institute, head of strategic planning at PANYNJ, and member of many expert panels on transportation.
We met him several years ago and talked for ages - he's a most knowledgeable, creative and interesting man.