I. Addressing Tolling in the Transportation Planning Process
This section of the Handbook identifies several specific approaches that can be used to address tolling in the transportation planning process. The planning process provides an opportunity to resolve fundamental policy issues regarding the role of tolling in the state or region’s transportation system. It also provides an opportunity to develop the financial and traffic analyses that demonstrate the viability of tolled alternatives in a specific corridor or regional network. And it may help to demonstrate that toll revenues are needed to meet fiscal constraint requirements. By taking advantage of these opportunities, transportation agencies can help to lay the foundation for a focused and efficient NEPA process.
Developing a Region-Wide Toll Policy. A comprehensive regional policy regarding highway tolls can provide the foundation for considering tolls in the environmental review process for individual projects. Within a metropolitan area, the development of a regional toll policy could be led by the metropolitan planning organization (MPO) and/or the state DOT, and would likely involve toll road authorities, local governments, and many other stakeholders. A regional toll policy could address issues such as:
• Policy rationale for tolling (e.g., raising revenue, managing congestion, reducing emissions)
• Reliance on tolls to demonstrate fiscal constraint
• Use of all-electronic toll collection
• Designation of tolled corridors
• Assessment of equity and environmental justice concerns related to tolling
• Measures to minimize or offset the impact of tolls
Conducting Toll Feasibility Studies. When conducted as part of transportation planning, a toll feasibility study can save time in the NEPA process by helping to clarify the type of tolled alternatives that would be viable and the financial and operational benefits of those alternatives. Specifically, a tolling feasibility study provides a starting point for assessing:
• Type of toll facility (e.g., HOT lanes)
• Potential toll rates on the facility
• Potential toll revenue generated by the toll facility
• Effects of tolling on traffic diversion to other routes
• Potential construction costs
• Potential use of a PPP
• Project phasing options.AASHTO PH 03 pdf download.