Shadow Tolls

by Raymond Tillman, P.E., Sr. Vice Pres.; URS Greiner, Inc., One Penn Plaza, 610, New York, NY,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1998, Vol. 68, Issue 4, Pg. 51-53

Document Type: Feature article


As federal funding sources shrink, private sector involvement becomes more necessary for road projects. Private entities are reluctant to become partners in road projects unless there is a guaranteed return on investment. A traditional source of returns has been tolls paid by motorists. But the direct toll model neglects the other beneficiaries of new roads, specifically landowners and businesses, who could perhaps also help pay for road construction via indirect, or shadow tolls. Shadow tolls, an alternative means of road financing, can take a variety of forms, such as regular assessments based on traffic volume over the new road, while certain governmental guarantees can ensure a stable income or payback schedule for private partners.

Subject Headings: Highways and roads | Tolls | Public private partnership | Project management | Private sector | Financing | Traffic volume

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