MBUFA Press Release for June 18 Senate Finance Committee Hearing on the Challenges to the Future of Highway Funding

Contact:  Barbara Rohde                                                                    June 18, 2015

(202) 312- 7437                                                                                  For Immediate Release

Statement 

Senate Committee on Finance Hearing on Challenges to the Future of Highway Funding 

The Mileage-Based User Fee Alliance (MBUFA) is a national non-profit organization that brings together government, business, academic, and transportation policy leaders to conduct education and outreach on the potential for mileage-based user fees as an alternative for future funding and improved performance of the U.S. transportation system. 

Jim Whitty is former Vice Chair of MBUFA and the manager of Oregon Department of Transportation’s Office of Innovative Partnership Programs.  He has led the development and now implementation of Oregon’s mileage-based user charge system and he made the following comment: 

“Oregon was the first state to adopt the gas tax in 1919 and you could say that we were the first state to notice that it was going awry. In 2001, the state legislature established a task force to create a new revenue system for highways.  The recommendation was a per-mile charge as the most viable alternative to the gas tax.  After 14 years of research and pilot programs, Oregon will launch on July 1st, a road user charge system for 5,000 volunteers that will have three types of mileage reporting from three providers so that users have choices for what system to use.  Through our pilot programs we have learned that providing system choice and making clear that government will not be tracking drivers is critical to responding to drivers’ concerns about privacy.” 

Adrian Moore, Ph.D., is vice president for education and an MBUFA board member.  He is also vice president of policy at Reason Foundation, a non-profit think tank advancing free minds and free markets.  He served as a commissioner on the National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission which was established by Congress. He made the following comment:

“The gas tax used to be a reasonably good way to pay for transportation.  If you look into the future, you can see its weaknesses are growing and the strengths are shrinking.  Nothing is going to change that.  Eventually, it will quit being an effective mechanism and it’s going to have to be replaced.  The question is what is the most efficient and effective method to pay for transportation and infrastructure?  And that would a fee on use of transportation infrastructure. User fees have many inherent advantages over taxes because they are related to the usage of the system.  When usage goes up, revenue tends to go up; when usage goes down, revenue tends to go down.  It sends signals to the system much like prices do in the market.   On the Transportation Financing Commission we spent two years evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of every tax and every fee that we could think of or that anyone could suggest to us.   The mechanism that stood out as being efficient, effective, equitable and sustainable was the mileage-based user fee.”

MBUFA Press Statement for June 17 House Ways and Means Committee Highway Trust Fund Hearing

Contact:  Barbara Rohde                                                                    June 17, 2015

(202) 312- 7437                                                                                  For Immediate Release

Statement

House Committee on Ways and Means Hearing on Long-Term Financing of the Highway Trust Fund

The Mileage-Based User Fee Alliance (MBUFA) is a national non-profit organization that brings together government, business, academic, and transportation policy leaders to conduct education and outreach on the potential for mileage-based user fees as an alternative for future funding and improved performance of the U.S. transportation system. 

The organization is chaired by national transportation finance expert, Jack Basso, formerly the Chief Operating Officer and Business Development Director for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and chief financial officer of the U.S. Department of Transportation who made the following comment:

“It’s no secret that the greatest obstacle to restoring our nation’s infrastructure is identifying and agreeing to a reliable, long-term, sustainable financing mechanism for the Highway Trust Fund.  But it is also no secret that those solutions already exist. While the problem has been studied by congressional commissions and policy experts, all have shown that changes in driving habits and the projected continued increase in alternative fuel vehicles will make the gas tax obsolete as the primary financing source for transportation infrastructure.  Mileage-based user fees are the best long term financing option.” 

Mid-Atlantic Transportation Funding Workshop

Last week, we held our fourth workshop in Wilmington, DE with the support of the University of Delaware, Delaware Department of Transportation and the I-95 Cooridor Coalition.

Sen. Tom Carper, Chair, Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the Environment and Public Works Committee in the U.S. Senate, delivered a keynote address. Chairman Carper offered his views on the needs to develop sustainable alternatives for infrastructure funding to ensure robust ongoing federal investment in our nation’s transportation system.

The state workshops offer the opportunity to explore specific state issues and identify solutions with those who are responsible for developing effective financing alternatives to meet the future infrastructure needs of the country.

Following are links to the PowerPoint Presentations from the Mid-Atlantic Workshop.

Gary Euler: MBUF Research for the I-95 Corridor Coalition: I-95 Coalition Con Ops – Wilmington – 12-14 Euler

Jack Basso:  The Funding Cliff:  MBUFACA_workshopDE_DEC14

California Sustainable Transportation Workshop

Last week, we held our third workshop in Glendale, CA at the invitation of the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) and Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG). It was an opportunity for stakeholders to learn more about mileage-based charges, the federal and state transportation funding fiscal decline and the recently passed CA legislation SB 1077.

CA bill SB 1077 requires the Chair of the California Transportation Commission to create a Road Usage Charge (RUC) Technical Advisory Committee in consultation with the Secretary of the Transportation Agency. The bill requires the technical advisory committee to study RUC alternatives to the gas tax and to make recommendations to the Secretary of the Transportation Agency on the design of a pilot program. The bill  requires the Transportation Agency, based on the recommendations of the technical advisory committee, to implement a pilot program to identify and evaluate issues related to the potential implementation of an RUC program in California by January 1, 2017.

The state workshops offer the opportunity to explore specific state issues and identify solutions with those who are responsible for developing effective financing alternatives to meet the future infrastructure needs of the country. Looking forward to 2014, we’ve been asked to do more workshops in states around the country and will be holding a workshop in Wilimington, Delaware on December 5, 2015 with federal and state leaders participating.

Following are links to the PowerPoint Presentations from the CA Workshop.

 

 

 

 

MBUFA, CalTRANS and SCAG Join Together for a MBUF Workshop

Click Here to View the California Workshop Agenda

MBUFA is pleased to announce that we are partnering with CalTrans and SCAG to present a one day Workshop.

The Workshop will explore Mileage-based User Fees as an option for replacing California’s gas tax.

The workshop will take place October 7 in Glendale, California.

Please Register For Free At:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/california-sustainable-transportation-funding-workshop-tickets-13007131681

 

Member Computer Aid, Inc. Returns As Premier Sponsor for Mileage Based User Fee Alliance Conference And Workshop Series

Peter J. (Jack) Basso, Chairman of the Board, announced today Computer Aid, Inc. is returning as a premier sponsor to the Mileage Based User Fee Alliance Conference and Workshop Series.  In making the announcement, Basso said, “Computer Aid, Inc is a leading consultant for revenue collection systems used in the mileage based use fee endeavor and is a wonderful partner to MBUFA in advancing our conference and workshop series.  We are particularly pleased they have returned as a premier sponsor for the second year.”

MBUFA presents a number of workshops throughout the country to educate and inform thought leaders on using mileage based user fees as a viable financial basis for funding transportation infrastructure.  The next workshop is scheduled for October 7th in Los Angeles, California and is co-sponsored with the California Department of Transportation.

Memorial Day Spike in Revenue?

Memorial Day marks the start of summer and an increase in driving. With that comes the inevitable spike in gasoline prices. It is easy to assume that these higher gas prices would generate significant extra revenue to the Highway Trust Fund and extend the drop dead date for when the Trust Fund runs out of money.

It won’t.

The current gasoline tax is fixed at 18.4 cents per gallon and not indexed to the price. That means that it doesn’t rise or fall based on the price of gas at the pump. Consumers pay the same amount of tax whether the base price is high or low. Additionally, an increase in the percentage of fuel efficient cars that comprise the total number of cars on the road, coupled with the non-indexed gas tax, means that there will not be a Trust Fund windfall. The looming transportation financing crisis will not take a summer vacation.

States are grappling with the problem of diminishing transportation funding from the federal government balanced against a crumbling infrastructure. This precarious position has forced many states to explore innovative solutions. This is what states do best—incubate new policies. Need an example? The gas tax currently in place today was born in the states and wasn’t adopted by the federal government until it was working and accepted in the majority of states.

In the new transportation bill, Congress needs to support testing and exploration of different financing options to identify what works, what doesn’t, and provide policy options for the future.