The Second Annual Conference of the Mileage-Based User Fee Alliance (MBUFA) was held in Washington, DC on February 24, 2015. The MBUFA is a non-profit organization that promotes awareness and education about mileage-based user fees as an alternative for the future funding of improvements to the U.S. transportation system. Attendees included policy makers, public sector representatives and private sector stakeholders weighing in on the topic “Sustainable Transportation Funding, Road User Fees: Is There Another Option for Achieving Financial Sustainability?” The concept of a mileage-based user fee is to charge users of transportation infrastructure for its use, rather than relying on gas taxes primarily as the source of transportation infrastructure funding. The MBUFA conference opened with Representative Earl Blumenauer (D. Ore.), who discussed two bills he introduced to address the nation’s aging infrastructure. The first, the UPDATE Act would phase in a 15 cent increase in the gas tax over the next three years, then transition to a long-term alternate funding source to replace the gas tax entirely. The second bill, the Road Usage Charge Pilot Project, would establish a grant program of $30 million to determine the costs and benefits of mileage-based user fee systems.
A subsequent panel spoke to an existing research project and study on the requirements of multistate mileage-based user fees, congestion pricing and implementation. The panelists described the study, and a case study in the mid-Atlantic, and the I-95 Corridor Coalition’s long-range vision that resulted in a long-range vision that set forth all of the functions that would need to be accomplished by a multistate MBUF system that encompasses all miles traveled by all vehicles by state and jurisdiction as well as tolls and congestion-based charges.
The conference also featured a panel discussion of private sector experts who described the implementing technologies that are already available. The panelists were asked what the “magic number” might be to allow states to implement a MBUF at no cost to the state. The experts agreed that that number would vary based on the desired services associated with the fee and other unique factors.
More information about the Mileage-Based User Fee Alliance can be found here.