Paper Proposes Mileage Fees to Solve Road Funding Problems

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A new paper from the University of Michigan suggests that the state could solve its road funding problems by being one of the first states in the nation to move to a system where motorists pay a fee based on the number of miles they drive. Mileage fees aim to allocate transportation infrastructure costs based on the number of miles driven, the time of day, the route taken, and the weight of the vehicle, rather than increasing fuel taxes. According to the report, mileage fees can improve transportation efficiency and access, reconcile transportation funding shortages, increase public and institutional cost effectiveness and accountability, address institutional waste, and support environmental sustainability. The groups say such fees, along with “other innovative market-based financing mechanisms could improve economic stability of state transportation systems, facilitate fairer and more responsive fee structures, reduce the need for tax increases, and promote more efficient travel behavior. The report, prepared for the Michigan Environmental Council by the university’s Sustainable Mobility and Accessible Research and Transformation initiative, discusses precedents, potential benefits, challenges, and implementation options and approaches. (Via the Detroit Free Press.)