While sales tax increases have proven popular, road tolls and other user fees are better methods to fund transportation improvements, says transportation expert Martin Wachs.
Speaking to a group of transportation planners gathered at the University of Arizona, Martin Wachs, director of transportation, space and technology for the Rand Corporation remarked that while half-cent transportation sales tax increases are popular, they aren't necessarily practical.
Wachs, a former city and regional planning professor at University of California-Berkeley, said that the people paying for the sales tax aren't necessarily the ones who benefit from new roads and road improvements.
"Charging a fee to those who use the roads, such as a road-use toll, is more practical because it forces the people who drive to pay for improvements, Wachs said."
"The changing nature of transportation finance is going through a 'quiet revolution' he said, as more and more communities make changes to their funding mechanisms, but the transportation industry as a whole is not debating these changes, he said."