Transportation Funding

Featured

Federal, state, and local governments are finding it increasingly difficult to raise sufficient revenue to build and maintain roads and transit systems. RAND researchers evaluate new and existing transportation funding mechanisms and policies including fuel taxes, mileage-based user fees, congestion pricing, and more.

  • Los Angeles freeway, photo by Andrea Izzotti/Fotolia

    Commentary

    Pay as You Go

    Jul 22, 2015

    Using vehicle miles traveled as a means of distributing the cost of maintaining America's roads and bridges may not be the only answer. But it represents the kind of innovative thinking that is necessary when this sector of the American transportation infrastructure is desperately in need of a fix.

  • Flags and signs warn drivers about lane closures along Pacific Coast Highway near San Francisco, California, photo by Silvrshootr/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Rebuilding America's Infrastructure in the Trump Era

    Nov 14, 2016

    Policymakers generally agree on the need to rebuild America's infrastructure. But the country is far behind in this area. Why? Transportation projects take time and money. And it's hard to predict how a project will affect its surroundings.

Explore Transportation Funding

  • H.C. Andersens Boulevard - January Evening in Copenhagen

    Project

    Quantifying Travellers’ Willingness to Pay for a Tolled Tunnel in Central Copenhagen

    Stated choice experiments will help researchers quantify the willingness of car and van travellers to pay to use a proposed new tunnel to cross to and from Amager in central Copenhagen. The results from this study will infom the Danish Road Directorate's proposed new infrastructure.

    Jun 16, 2017

  • An unfinished monorail project in Sao Paulo, Brazil, March 3, 2016

    Commentary

    Regulating Infrastructures in the Tropics

    Regulation helps address the demands of investors who are seeking assurances that their investments are safe, while also reassuring democratically elected governments. Regulatory reform could help Brazil attract more private investment in its infrastructure.

    May 26, 2017

  • Report

    Regulation of logistics infrastructure in Brazil

    This report deals with the regulation of logistics infrastructures in Brazil, focusing in particular on the federal level. Brazil, one of the key emerging economies in the world, has a particular need for developing logistics infrastructures.

    May 8, 2017

  • Rigging equipment is pictured in a field outside of Sweetwater, Texas, June 4, 2015

    Commentary

    Why Selling Oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve Is a Bad Idea

    Some lawmakers are proposing a sell-off of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to finance highway and bridge work. This is a shortsighted strategy.

    Sep 15, 2015

  • The U.S. Capitol Building, Washington, DC

    Blog

    The 2015 Summer Reading List for Congress

    With Capitol Hill slowing for August recess, this list of must-read research and commentaries will help ensure that policymakers are ready to dive right back in this fall.

    Aug 5, 2015

  • Vehicles driving toward Mt. Hood in Oregon

    Commentary

    How to Improve Oregon's Mileage-Fee Experiment

    Oregon is rolling out the nation's first large-scale pilot to examine switching to a mileage fee instead of the gas tax. The trial is a welcome next step toward understanding how mileage fees can be deployed.

    Jul 7, 2015

  • Central Texas Roadway System map

    Project

    Examining Feasibility of Time-of-Day Tolls to Reduce Congestion

    To reduce traffic along a heavily congested Texas toll road, researchers used stated preference surveys and discrete choice models to understand how motorists will respond to alternative time-of-day pricing policies.

    Jun 19, 2015

  • U.S. Capitol building with summer flowers

    Blog

    Summer Reading for Congress

    No matter how policymakers spend their break—meeting with home-state constituents, traveling abroad with congressional delegations, or spending time with family—this summer reading list contains policy ideas that can help them hit the ground running when they return.

    Jul 31, 2014

  • Congressional Briefing Podcast

    Multimedia

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

    In this June 2014 Congressional Briefing, Liisa Ecola discusses growing shortfalls in federal and state funding for surface transportation programs, and the potential of mileage fees (rather than fuel taxes) to reduce those shortfalls while also reducing traffic congestion, harmful emissions, and excessive road wear.

    Jun 26, 2014

  • Automobile traffic backs-up as it travels north from San Diego to Los Angeles along Interstate Highway 5 in California

    Commentary

    Make HOT Lanes Permanent

    The first HOT lanes in L.A. have improved traffic flow and travel time reliability, are fair to users of the facilities, have improved transit service and have generated revenue needed to fund those improvements from voluntary toll payments.

    Apr 23, 2014

  • A truck is filled with sand at Wellsboro & Corning Railroad in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania

    Commentary

    As U.S. Energy Booms, Don't Forget About Roadway Infrastructure

    Natural gas production is growing and many states and communities are reaping the economic benefits. One of the costs, however, will be damage to roads. One hydraulic fracturing operation requires about 600 to 1,100 one-way, heavy truck trips to bring equipment, materials, and sometimes water to and from a well site.

    Mar 11, 2014

  • toll booth with ezpass

    Report

    Mileage-Fee Design Strategies to Reduce System Cost and Increase Public Acceptance

    As traditional transportation revenue sources primarily based on gas tax continue to dwindle or stay even at best, the notion of transitioning to a vehicle-miles-traveled fee or mileage-based user fee has come under substantial consideration. Some design strategies can reduce system costs and increase public acceptance of mileage-based fees.

    Nov 14, 2013

  • illustration of cars, trucks, buses, and helicopter traveling in a city

    Blog

    What Mobility Might Look Like in the U.S. in 2030

    Mobility — the ability to travel from one location to another — may look very different in the United States in the year 2030. Three key drivers differentiate possible scenarios: the price of oil, the development of environmental regulations, and the amount of highway revenues and expenditures.

    Oct 28, 2013

  • depiction of fast-moving traffic at night

    Report

    Scenarios Examine Future of Mobility in the United States

    What might one expect for the future of mobility in the U.S. in 2030? A six-step scenario development process resulted in two thought-provoking scenarios that address this question, and three key drivers differentiate the scenarios: the price of oil, the development of environmental regulation, and the amount of highway revenues and expenditures.

    Oct 24, 2013

  • Traffic Jam Stopped Cars Pennsylvania Turnpike Exit 358 Bristol Levittown

    Commentary

    Paying for Infrastructure, a Taxing Issue

    If the “user pays” idea is worth saving, the United States needs a different calculation, writes Liisa Ecola. Some states are looking at mileage fees. With mileage fees, you pay based on the number of miles you drive, rather than the number of gallons of gas used.

    May 16, 2013

  • Aerial photo of highway

    Commentary

    Consider Taxing Miles Traveled

    Mileage-fee rates could be structured to reduce congestion, harmful emissions and excessive road wear, and the enabling technology could support a range of value-added services offering greater convenience and safety for motorists, writes Keith Crane.

    Apr 19, 2013

  • man filling car gas tank

    Commentary

    Does U.S. Gas Tax Still Make Sense?

    It's time to consider changing the country's transportation funding scheme from one based on gallons purchased to one based on vehicle miles actually traveled, writes Liisa Ecola.

    Mar 8, 2013

  • Cars go through Washington State toll booths

    Journal Article

    Emerging Strategies in Mileage-Based User Fees to Reduce Costs and Increase Acceptance

    This paper presents a review of promising mileage-fee design and implementation strategies intended to reduce system costs and foster greater public acceptance.

    Jan 1, 2013