America has long paid for its surface transportation system with gas taxes. But while traffic demands have continued to increase, technological advances are changing the revenue equation: More fuel-efficient gas and diesel engines, plus an influx of hybrid and electric vehicles, means less revenue per mile traveled. The shortfall is readily apparent to all in the form of potholes spreading like a pox across the country’s deteriorating infrastructure. Recognizing this situation is unsustainable, federal and state policymakers are increasingly expressing interest in switching to a “road user charge” system (RUC) that uses technology to log the mileage of cars and trucks and charge them accordingly. As Congress debates surface transportation policy—and considers the merits of moving forward with an RUC system—it is important to dispel myths shaping the RUC debate, including that it would make rural drivers pay more and would threaten privacy.
Please join ITIF for the release of a new report—“A Policymaker’s Guide to Road User Charges”—and an expert panel discussion that will delve into the myths and realities of RUC systems and what Congress should do to enable progress.