Approved by the Transportation Policy Committee March 26, 2015
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on May 18, 2015
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 18, 2015
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 sustainable 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, barge taxes, container fees, airline passenger ticket tax; aviation fuel tax; passenger facility charges; and other relevant charges;
- Tolling as a funding mechanism to repair, reconstruct and expand interstate highway system;
- Indexing user fees to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or other appropriate indices;
- General treasury funds; oil surcharges; state and local sales, income, payroll and/or property taxes; corporate taxes and/or repatriation, impact fees; and other development-related fees; transportation maintenance and improvement districts; vehicle registration fees; and toll revenues; dynamic pricing; and
- Public-private partnerships, state infrastructure banks, bonding, value capture from transit-oriented development, and other innovative financing mechanisms used as appropriate to leverage available transportation funding.
ASCE further recommends that these funds be managed efficiently through dedicated mode-neutral trust funds with budgetary firewalls to eliminate the diversion of transportation revenues for non-transportation purposes.
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 2013 Report Card for America's Infrastructure documents a transportation investment shortfall by 2020 of $846 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. By 2020, 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.
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 sustainable source or sources of revenue is essential to achieve these goals.
ASCE Policy Statement 382
First Approved in 1991