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Steve Chiotakis: President-elect Barack Obama calls for spending billions on infrastructure projects as a way of jump-starting the economy. This weekend, those who handle the projects gather in Washington. But as Marketplace’s Sam Eaton reports, their wish list isn’t what you’d expect.
Sam Eaton: The guys who build toll roads and bridges have a message for Barack Obama when it comes to his infrastructure stimulus plan:
Patrick Jones: We need to step away from the business as usual approach.
Patrick Jones heads the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association. He says the way government currently funds transportation infrastructure is in need of a major overhaul. Especially as the tanking economy dries up main source of revenue for these projects: the fuel tax.
Jones: We have to expand the funding toolbox. And we need to move to a more ubiquitous form of road pricing that helps to reduce our dependence on carbon-based fuels.
That pricing structure would come in the form of more toll roads, funded in part by private industry. Jones says pay by use highways and bridges send a powerful economic signal to drivers to drive less. It also frees up more government funds for what he says is really needed to reduce greenhouse gases — more public transportation.
I’m Sam Eaton for Marketplace.
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