May 23, 2022
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A new report issued by the Eastern Transportation Coalition tallies up the results of mileage-based user fee or MBUF pilot programs conducted over the course of 2020 and 2021 – a 108-page report focused on addressing concerns about privacy, rural drivers, and commercial trucking operations.

[Above photo by the New Jersey DOT]

Patricia Hendren, the coalition’s executive director, noted that the report highlights the “feasibility” of an MBUF program as “a viable, scalable model for funding our nation’s highway infrastructure by addressing concerns around privacy and impact on all users, from rural to urban settings as well as cars and trucks.”

Patricia Hendren

She added that the coalition “will continue working with our state departments of transportation partners to communicate with the public about the advantages of replacing the traditional fuel tax model with mileage-based user fees.”

The report highlights findings from several MBUF pilot programs and research studies, including:

  • The first-ever national truck pilot including 221 vehicles traveling 11 million miles across 48 states and Washington, D.C.
  • Passenger vehicle pilot with nearly 400 participants conducted in partnership with Delaware, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.
  • Geographic equity analysis exploring impacts of MBUF on different households in each participating state.

Hendren noted that data protection measures and clear communication with users could alleviate privacy concerns related to MBUF. During the 2020-2021 passenger vehicle pilot, for example, participants ranking privacy as a “high concern” dropped from 52 percent to 7 percent.

Photo by PennDOT

It also demonstrated that rural drivers could benefit from a shift to an MBUF system, refuting a “common misconception” that the MBUF model would harm rural drivers because they tend to drive more than their urban counterparts do. In fact, a shift to MBUF would only change household expenses – regardless of geography – by about $1.50 a month.

“Delaware continues to support the commitment of the Eastern Transportation Coalition to explore alternatives for funding our transportation infrastructure,” said Nicole Majeski, secretary of the Delaware Department of Transportation. “The coalition’s work on this issue is providing valuable data that will inform our decision making as we look to the future.”

Yassmin Gramian

“[We are] focused on ensuring a safe, efficient and effective transportation network and is proud to lead this exploration with the Coalition to better understand how MBUF may affect all Pennsylvania drivers,” added Yassmin Gramian, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

“This work is an important step towards building a more sustainable transportation system for the future,” she said.

“North Carolina recognizes the need to explore alternative transportation funding approaches that incorporates new technology and innovation,” said Eric Boyette, secretary of North Carolina Department of Transportation, emphasizing that MBUF can help “build a bridge to the infrastructure of tomorrow.”

“A modern and efficient transportation infrastructure is critical to a strong regional economy,” noted Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Transportation. “The exploration of viable alternatives for funding highway infrastructure will ensure that we can effectively manage the transportation systems of the future.”

editor@aashto.org

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