MBUF IN THE NEWS

FHWA Awards More Than $10 Million to Seven States to Test New Ways to Fund Highways

February 12, 2019

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced $10.2 million in Surface Transportation System Funding Alternatives (STSFA) grants to seven states to test new ways to finance highway and bridge projects. The program’s goal is to allow states to test user-based alternatives to support the Highway Trust Fund, which relies primarily on the federal gas tax. “These grants provide states with the opportunity to explore innovative new ways to help pay for infrastructure improvements and maintenance,” said Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Brandye L. Hendrickson. The STSFA grants fund projects to test the design, implementation, and acceptance of user-based alternative revenue tools. FHWA officials selected proposals from seven states – California, Delaware, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Utah. The seven projects will investigate and evaluate various mileage-based and road-user charges, including for trucks and automated vehicles, and the implementation and operation of the technologies at a regional level. STSFA was established under the “Fixing America's Surface Transportation” (FAST) Act.

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Transportation infrastructure in the United States is funded primarily by the excise tax on gasoline and diesel fuel. The gas tax at the Federal level is not indexed to inflation and due to increases in fuel efficiency, revenues generated have declined significantly.

A mileage based user fee (MBUF) or vehicle miles traveled (VMT) fee is a user charge based on miles driven in a specific vehicle as opposed to the current excise tax on fuel consumed. 

There are many potential technologies for operating a mileage-based system and it is possible that offering options may be most effective for implementation. 

In the United States, states are taking a lead in helping to resolve many of the implementation questions by working with academia, industry partners and each other to devise mileage-based user fee pilot projects around the country. 

There are many misconceptions about privacy, fairness, double taxation, anti-fuel efficiency and interoperability.

What are some frequently asked questions about MBUF?