Improving Efficiency And Equity In Transportation Finance

This Brookings policy brief by Martin Wachs outlines the complex series of relationships that define federal, state, and local roles in financing transportation systems.

April 27, 2003, 5:00 AM PDT

By Chris Steins @urbaninsight


"...[S]eemingly modest local tax increases enacted as short-term solutions to immediate problems are setting a major national trend. Without any deliberate or conscious change in policy, transportation finance is gradually devolving to local governments and lessening its reliance on user fees. User fees are, however, more efficient and more equitable than local sales taxes for transportation projects. In the short run, increases in fuel taxes are viable and practical. In the longer term, tolls collected electronically promise the most appropriate and flexible method of user fee financing... Continued or expanded reliance on user fees remains the most promising way to promote efficiency and equity in transportation finance."

Thanks to Chris Steins

Saturday, April 26, 2003 in The Brookings Institution

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