Full Title: Shifting Gears: How We Pay for Transportation, Why It’s Not Working, and How to Fix It
Author(s): Tony Dutzik, James Horrox, Matthew Casale
Publisher(s): U.S. PIRG, Frontier Group
Publication Date: March 2, 2022
Full Text: Download Resource
The U.S. system of transportation finance is broken. Created a century ago to fund the build-out of the nation’s road network, the system was designed to funnel revenues from gas taxes and motor vehicle fees into “trust funds” devoted to highway construction and maintenance. That system succeeded in financing the construction of the most expansive highway network in the world. But it is failing America today.
Too much money is wasted on boondoggle projects, even as critical 21st century transportation needs go unmet. The original bargain at the heart of the system – that drivers would bear the costs of building and maintaining the roads they use – has been broken, with decision-makers at all levels spending increasing amounts of general tax revenue on roads to avoid raising gas taxes. By making driving relatively cheap and convenient – and options such as transit, biking and walking difficult and expensive – the transportation finance system is a formidable obstacle to building a cleaner, healthier and more livable America.