The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration today announced $14.2 million in grants for states under a new program to explore alternative revenue mechanisms to help sustain the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund.
“Reliable funding is essential to ensuring we have a sound transportation system to support the economy,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “More investment in transportation in greatly needed, and we must find new solutions to prepare for the travel demands of the nation’s growing population.”
The Surface Transportation System Funding Alternatives (STSFA) grant program will fund projects to test the design, implementation and acceptance of user-based alternative revenue mechanisms.
The program will help address some of the concerns outlined in Beyond Traffic, the USDOT report issued last year that examines the challenges facing America's transportation infrastructure over the next three decades, such as a rapidly growing population and increasing traffic. Gridlock nationwide is expected to increase unless changes are made soon.
The eight projects will pilot a variety of options to raise revenue, including on-board vehicle technologies to charge drivers based on miles traveled and multi-state or regional approaches to road user charges. The projects will address common challenges involved with implementing user-based fees such as public acceptance, privacy protection, equity and geographic diversity. The projects will also evaluate the reliability and security of the technologies available to implement mileage-based fees.
“We’re thinking ahead about ways to fund our highway system and be equipped for the nation’s economic future,” said Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau. "It’s a system people rely upon for their jobs and essential services, for businesses to serve their customers and for freight shippers to deliver their goods.”
STSFA was established under the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.