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News » US » East Coast pilot study to explore new way of funding roads » published 3 May 2018

East Coast pilot study to explore new way of funding roads

A three-month pilot study has been launched in Delaware to explore using a mileage-based user fee (MBUF) to pay for infrastructure.

The I-95 Corridor Coalition, with Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) as the lead, has launched the study to begin exploring the feasibility of replacing the current fuel tax with an MBUF. The I-95 Corridor Coalition is a partnership of transportation agencies, toll authorities, public safety, and related organizations from the state of Maine to the state of Florida, with affiliate members in Canada.

“The fundamental question we are beginning to address is, as fuel tax revenue declines in the future due to improving efficiency and the growing use of alternative fuel vehicles, how will we pay to maintain and build infrastructure?” said secretary of transportation Jennifer Cohan. “This study is just a first step of many and will help us answer questions about mileage-based user fees and whether this is an alternative worth pursuing further.”

Phase 1 of the study is a focused pilot in Delaware beginning this week. It involves over 120 participants, including Department of Transportation officials, legislators, members of the media, and other stakeholders and will conclude at the end of July 2018. MBUF pilot programs have taken place in other states such as Oregon, California and Colorado, but DelDOT says that its will be the first to examine the challenges presented by multi-state travel and toll interoperability.

Phase 2 of the study will include a multi-state truck pilot in partnership with a private company to assess the synergy between current reporting requirements on commercial vehicles and MBUF. The pilot is currently scheduled to begin in 2019.

“The majority of the MBUF studies have happened in western states, and this study brings the East Coast perspective and its unique challenges, such as managing out-of-state mileage and synergies with toll authorities,” said Dr Patricia Hendren, executive director of I-95 Corridor Coalition. “While the I-95 Corridor Coalition is neutral regarding MBUF as the ultimate solution for transportation funding, we want to make sure that the voices of citizens along the I-95 corridor are part of the national discussion.”

The Coalition was awarded US$3.1m for a multi-year, two-phase study as part of the US Department of Transportation’s Surface Transportation System Funding Alternatives (STSFA) program. Congress has authorized up to US$95m in federal grants over a five-year period to explore alternative systems of transportation funding. Results from studies across the country will help policy-makers decide on next steps.


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This article was published on 3 May 2018 (last updated on 3 May 2018).

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