Funding Transportation Through User Fees, Not Sales Taxes

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."

Full Story: Transportation expert says sales taxes aren't always best fundraiser


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