Using Toll Financing to Fund Highways

<p>New technology allows us to manage traffic flow better than ever before, but we need to shift away from reliance on gas taxes, which are failing to deliver necessary revenue, a new Reason study argues.</p>
May 8, 2007, 1pm PDT | Chris Steins | @urbaninsight
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A new Reason Foundation study examines the various methods being used to fund major new highway projects and concludes toll financing is an "important part of our transportation system" that should be utilized more frequently.

The federal gas tax (18.4 cents per gallon, 24.4 cents per gallon for diesel) has not been increased since 1993. During that time the cost of living, as measured by the consumer price index, has risen 40.4 percent, which means that the purchasing power of the gas tax has declined 29 percent. By 2009, the federal highway trust fund will be $21 billion in the red. And while the government tries to find a better way to finance much-needed new highways, your commute is going to get a lot longer.

By 2030, drivers in 30 U.S. cities will experience daily traffic delays that make their commutes 50 percent longer than they would be in free-flowing traffic conditions. Today just four cities – Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. – experience that level of congestion. A new Reason Foundation report examines the various methods being used to fund major new highway projects and concludes toll financing is an "important part of our transportation system" that should be utilized more frequently.

The study is authored by Peter Samuel, a senior fellow at Reason Foundation and editor and publisher of TollRoadsNews.com, and Robert Poole, director of transportation studies at Reason Foundation, a free market think tank he founded.

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Published on Thursday, May 3, 2007 in Reason Foundation
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