The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will soon mark up its surface transportation bill, legislation that addresses the federal role in rail, roads and transit. A key issue in any reauthorization is funding, and this time Congress needs to address the lack of sustainability of the federal gas tax in supporting the federal Highway Trust Fund. As Rob Atkinson writes for Morning Consult, the Senate should embrace innovation and charge the Department of Transportation with establishing a national road user charging system that starts with, or at least includes, trucks.
Road user charges are the most viable and sustainable long-term “user pay” option for the federal government to both raise adequate and appropriate revenues and provide the federal share of funding for the nation’s surface transportation system. It’s time for Congress to get on board.