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The National Academies

NCHRP 20-24(07)A [Completed]

Alternative Approaches to the Taxation of Heavy Vehicles
[ NCHRP 20-24 (Administration of Highway and Transportation Agencies) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $200,000
Research Agency: Cambridge Systematics, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Herbert Weinblatt and Joseph R. Stowers
Effective Date: 2/1/1996
Completion Date: 10/31/1997

Recommended procedures, applicable to federal and state governments, for evaluating alternatives to the taxation of heavy vehicles were developed. The procedures are accompanied by appropriate resource material, and general assessments and recommendations of future activities and scenarios were included as well. The results will be of interest to those who deal with the identification of revenue sources for highway purposes and to the motor carrier industry. The research report, NCHRP Report 416, is supplemented by an Applications Manual, available on the Internet (see below).

Motor-carrier user fees, typically applied as fuel taxes and registration charges, are an important component of surface transportation financing. Heavy vehicles used by motor carriers have characteristics that differ substantially from automobiles and other light vehicles. While their numbers on the highways are far fewer than light vehicles, heavy vehicles play an important role in determining the costs of constructing and maintaining durable, safe highways. Economic factors influencing motor-carrier operations also differ substantially from those affecting usage of lighter vehicles. For these reasons, appropriate alternatives to the motor-fuel tax for heavy vehicles may be very different from those considered best for other segments of the highway user market.

In a previous NCHRP study, documented in NCHRP Report 377, Alternatives to Motor Fuel Taxes for Financing Surface Transportation Improvements, a flexible and comprehensive method was developed for identifying and evaluating alternatives to the motor-vehicle fuel tax. Although some of the alternatives evaluated in that research were applicable to motor-carrier taxation, many of the issues surrounding heavy vehicles needed further amplification.

The results of this research will provide guidance and resource material to federal and state agencies for evaluating proposed schemes nationally and locally. The research results were published as NCHRP Report 416, Alternative Approaches to the Taxation of Heavy Vehicles. This report is supplemented by an Applications Manual that has been posted on the Internet as NCHRP Web Document 17.





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