US Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters has announced new flexibility for states to use high speed electronic tolling to relieve congestion and finance infrastructure improvements in a federal register notice.

“Electronic tolling interest is growing in every corner of the US thanks to new technologies, growing congestion, and the recognition that traditional approaches cannot solve our transportation challenges,” Secretary Peters said, adding that the Express Lanes Demonstration program gives states yet another program that will permit electronic tolling on all US highways, including interstates.

The federal register notice details the program and its requirements for toll collection on highways, including new and existing interstate lanes, to relieve congestion and finance road improvements. The program will authorise up to 15 projects through 2009.

“Thanks to the efforts of congress and the Administration, states now have more options than ever before to use non-traditional approaches to relieve congestion and generate investment resources,” Federal Highway Administrator J. Richard Capka said.

Capka noted, for example, that states can use demand pricing to raise and lower tolls according to traffic levels as a way to keep cars flowing. The program requires electronic tolling so traffic does not slow down while drivers pay the toll. It is one of six tolling programs that the agency offers to states.

More information on the Express Lanes Demonstration Program is available at http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/tolling_pricing/index.htm