The U.S. Department of Transportation's (U.S. DOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) yesterday announced $14.2 million in grants for states under a new program to explore alternative revenue mechanisms to help sustain the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund.
The Surface Transportation System Funding Alternatives (STSFA) grant program will fund projects to test the design, implementation and acceptance of user-based alternative revenue mechanisms.
The program will help address some of the concerns outlined in Beyond Traffic, the U.S. DOT report issued last year that examines the challenges facing America's transportation infrastructure over the next three decades, such as a rapidly growing population and increasing traffic. Gridlock nationwide is expected to increase unless changes are made soon.
The eight projects will pilot a variety of options to raise revenue, including on-board vehicle technologies to charge drivers based on miles traveled and multi-state or regional approaches to road user charges. The projects will address common challenges involved with implementing user-based fees such as public acceptance, privacy protection, equity and geographic diversity. The projects will also evaluate the reliability and security of the technologies available to implement mileage-based fees.
STSFA was established under the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.