New York, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Michigan, and Maryland are among the most egregious of the pack, each of them diverting more than 30% of their respective state gas tax revenues away from roads. In terms of total dollars, the report found that Texas diverts the most money—$900 million—away from roads.
The 10 states diverting the largest percentage of their state gas tax money to non-road projects are:
1. New York - 37.5% ($600 million)
2. Rhode Island - 37.1% ($58 million)
3. New Jersey - 33.9% ($360 million)
3. Michigan - 33.9% ($770 million)
5. Maryland - 32.5% ($365 million)
6. Connecticut - 27% ($218 million)
7. Texas - 24% ($900 million)
8. Massachusetts - 23.9% ($203 million)
9. Florida - 13.6% ($386 million)
10. Vermont - 13.2% ($14 million)
The largest and most common areas for diversion are transit, pedestrian, and bicycle projects. Overall, 20 states divert gas tax money for such purposes; New York and New Jersey use over one-third of their respective gas tax revenues to fund their transit systems.
Ten states transfer a portion of their gas tax revenues to law enforcement and safety services, marking the second most common diversion. And two states shift nearly a quarter of their gas tax revenues to education programs—Michigan (25.9% of its gas tax revenue) and Texas (24.7% of its gas tax revenue).
The policy brief catalogs the state gas tax diversions of the 25 states that employ that practice and outlines potential policies that will strengthen the users-pay/users-benefit model of transportation funding. The full report itemizes all diversions of state-level gas taxes and provides explanations for each state’s diversion rate.