A New Way to Pay for Transportation: Exploring a Shift from Fuel Taxes to Mileage-Based User Fees

RAND Congressional Briefing Series


Liisa Ecola

Senior Project Associate, RAND Corporation

Congress’s top transportation priority this year will be passing a surface transportation reauthorization bill. One of the critical issues Congress will confront is how to make up for the declining revenues generated by the federal fuel tax due to inflation and improved fuel economy. Mileage-based user fees based on vehicle miles traveled (VMT) are viewed by many as a promising alternative to fuel taxes because, among other reasons, VMT revenues would be unaffected by fuel economy or fuel type and fees could be structured to help address other transportation goals, such as reducing congestion, harmful emissions, and road wear. But transitioning from fuel taxes to VMT fees would be a challenging undertaking, with many technical, institutional, and political uncertainties to be resolved.

Join us to hear about approaches to funding, organizing, and conducting a comprehensive set of system trials designed to help policy- and decisionmakers better prepare for a transition to VMT fees.

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