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Policy Statement 382 - Transportation Funding

ASCE Policy Statement                                                                                                           382

 

TRANSPORTATION FUNDING 

Approved by the Transportation Policy Committee February 1, 2012
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on March 7, 2012
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 12, 2012 

 

Policy

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) recommends that adequate funding for operating, maintaining, and improving the nation’s transportation system be provided by a comprehensive program with dedicated revenue sources at the federal, state, and local levels, including:

  • User fees such as existing motor fuel tax, ad-valorem motor fuel sales tax, mileage based user fees, freight waybill tax, carbon tax, container fees, and passenger facility charges;
  • Indexing user fees to the Consumer Price Index (CPI);
  • General treasury funds; oil surcharges; state and local sales, income, payroll, and/or property taxes; impact fees and other development-related fees; transportation maintenance and improvement districts; vehicle registration fees; and toll revenues; and
  • Public-private partnerships, state infrastructure banks, bonding and other innovative financing mechanisms used as appropriate to leverage available transportation funding, but not in excess of or as a means to supplant adequate user fees or other funding.

ASCE further recommends that these funds be managed through dedicated mode-neutral trust funds with budgetary firewalls to eliminate the diversion of transportation revenues for non-transportation purposes. 

Issue

Funding programs for transportation systems, i.e., highways, public transportation, rail, airports, harbors, and waterways, need to be substantially increased to provide orderly, predictable and sufficient revenues to meet current and future demand. The 2009 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure documents a five-year transportation investment shortfall of $812 billion. This funding, from federal, state, and local sources, is needed to bring America’s transportation infrastructure up to a good condition.   

The ASCE Report Failure to Act – The Economic Impact of Current Investment Trends in Surface Transportation Infrastructure, showed that in 2010, deficiencies in America’s roads, bridges, and transit systems cost American households and businesses roughly $130 billion, including approximately $97 billion in vehicle operating costs, $32 billion in delays in travel time, $1.2 billion in safety costs, and $590 million in environmental costs. 

If investments in surface transportation infrastructure are not made soon, those costs are expected to grow exponentially. Within 10 years, U.S. businesses would pay an added $430 billion in transportation costs, household incomes would fall by more than $7,000, and U.S. exports will fall by $28 billion per year.   

Rationale

Adequate revenues must be collected and allocated to maintain and improve the nation’s transportation systems and to be consistent with the nation's environmental and energy conservation goals.  A sustained source of revenue is essential to achieve these goals.

ASCE Policy Statement 382 
First Approved in 1991