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Policy Statement 382 - Transportation Funding

 

Approved by the Transportation Policy Committee February 13, 2018
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on May 6, 2018
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 13, 2018

Policy

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

  • User fees such as existing motor fuel tax, ad-valorem motor fuel sales tax, mileage-based user fees, alternative vehicle 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 the Interstate Highway System and roadways as well as invest in public transportation systems, bicycle infrastructure, and pedestrian infrastructure to reduce single occupancy vehicles; 
  • Indexing user fees to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or other appropriate indices;
  • General treasury funds, oil surcharges, state, regional, and/or local sales tax; income, payroll and/or property taxes, corporate taxes and/or repatriation, impact fees, and other development-related fees, transportation management and improvement districts, vehicle registration fees; parking revenues, and dynamic pricing; 
  • Value capture from transit-oriented development to invest in public transportation systems and accessibility to public transportation for people walking, biking, and vulnerable users; and
  • Public-private partnerships, infrastructure banks, bonding, naming rights, marketing/advertisement sales, and other innovative financing mechanisms used as appropriate to leverage available transportation funding. 

ASCE further recommends that these funds be managed efficiently through dedicated 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, roadways, 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 2017 Infrastructure Report Card documents a transportation investment shortfall by 2025 of $1.1 trillion. This funding, from federal, state, regional, and local sources, is needed to bring America's transportation infrastructure up to a good condition.

The ASCE Report Failure to Act -Closing the Infrastructure Investment Gap for America's Economic Future, showed that in 2015, deficiencies in America's roads, bridges, and transit systems cost American households and businesses roughly $147 billion, including approximately $109 billion in vehicle operating costs, $36 billion in delays in travel time, $1.4 billion in safety costs, and $700 million in environmental costs. 

If investment in surface transportation infrastructure are not made soon, those costs are expected to grow exponentially. According to the ASCE Failure to Act study, by 2025, the nation will have lost almost $800 billion in GDP and have 440,000 fewer jobs due to transportation system deficiencies. 

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 sustainable source or sources of revenue is essential to achieve these goals.

ASCE Policy Statement 382   
First Approved in 1991    
 


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