Proposals and efforts toward a long-term, sustainable, robust highway funding solution(s) must be considered and advanced now. Options will be put forth such as a mileage based user fee, tax reform repatriation, an Infrastructure Bank, a national vehicle registration program. Currently there is interest by members of Congress, including Speaker Paul Ryan, to go toward a VMT system as an alternative funding mechanism. Commissions have also looked into this and state pilot programs are underway. While the best option would be a fuel user fee increase – as CRSI has long promoted and will continue to support as part of the solution mix for transportation infrastructure funding – the current Congressional leadership has ruled this out to-date so we need to pivot attention to a mileage based user fee and coalesce behind a proposal advocated for by the industry and acceptable to Congress.
Short-term reauthorization extensions, insufficient funds from the federal fuels tax and the current minimal increase in authorized funding, transportation construction will be disadvantaged in the mid and long-terms. We have to remain engaged in identifying, analyzing and supporting best solutions/options for a robust surface transportation program and sustainable funding stream to build and maintain this sector of the economy.