The National Academies

NCHRP 19-18 [Active]

Transitioning Fuel Tax Assessments to a Road Usage Charge

  Project Data
Funds: $600,000
Research Agency: Milestone Solutions (CDM Smith)
Principal Investigator: Ging Ging Fernandez
Effective Date: 5/25/2021
Completion Date: 5/25/2023

State departments of transportation (DOTs) and other transportation agencies are interested in determining a viable alternative to motor fuel taxes as the primary funding source for transportation. While motor fuel taxes served as an effective and efficient revenue source during much of the 20th century, automobile and truck fuel efficiency is improving and electric and hybrid vehicle registrations are growing rapidly, thus eroding the funding base.
Many possible paths for implementation exist for implementing road usage charging.  Some implementation strategies will require new and emerging technologies to administer road usage charge programs for passenger and commercial vehicles. These technologies, which in some cases are still evolving, have implications for revenue collection, revenue distribution across jurisdictions, enforcement, administrative efficiency, equity, privacy, and data security. Implementation of appropriate technologies and administrative protocols necessitates many considerations and presents challenges.   
Challenges related to political and public acceptance of road usage charging cannot be overstated. Implementation will require effective communication and education at many levels. The public and policy makers must see proposed changes in transportation funding as fair, transparent, and equitable because the charges will be borne across all social and economic parts of society. 
The objective of this research is to evaluate and present viable paths and strategies for implementing road usage charging at the state, multi-state, and regional levels that generate revenues that could supplement, and/or may ultimately replace, motor fuel taxes as the primary funding source for surface transportation. The research should consider the differences among states and the near- and longer-term considerations and challenges to changes in transportation funding. 

Status:  The research is underway. The panel has reviewed the second interim report and will receive the sdraft final deliverables  in spring 2023.

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