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Tolls are highway user revenues that are collected in exchange for the usage of transportation facilities. These direct user fees are primarily collected in order to help fund transportation improvement projects.
Currently, over thirty states currently have enabling legislation to authorize tolling as a new revenue source and to fund new transportation projects. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 42 states have tolling authority and/or tolling facilities and 28 states have the legal authority to operate tolling facilities. Moreover, 20 states have tolling facilities that are privately operated.
Tolling is often a component of public-private partnership (P3) agreements. In recent years, there has been growing interest in pursuing these types of P3 transportation infrastructure projects, where private investors like pension funds or investment banks finance some or all of the costs of building a highway and earn a return by charging tolls.