Recent survey results from HNTB indicate growing public support for road-user fees, such as mileage-based user fees and tolls, as a way of paying for transportation infrastructure. These findings show a sharp jump in support for the idea over the last two years as more states, including Oregon, California, Minnesota, and Washington introduce pilot programs or studies and the public becomes more familiar with the concept.
Although several states have considered VMT fees as an alternative to the gas tax, none have yet instituted them. But recent news articles show that interest is still high, and some states may be inching toward this model. Insurance billed on a per-mile basis is also beginning to appear.
Equity is a commonly raised public acceptance concern regarding MBUFs. The research finds that a flat-rate MBUF would be no more or less regressive than fuel taxes, now or in the future. The findings are significant because they suggest that equity considerations based on ability to pay will not be a significant reason to oppose or support the adoption of MBUFs. Further, it is possible to structure an MBUF that provides incentives for fuel efficiency while maintaining other favorable qualities of MBUFs such as their economic efficiency and fiscal sustainability.
Wisconsin is the most recent state to consider a mileage-based user fee. Although other states have considered such fees, none has yet been implemented. Although the political climate is hostile to additional taxes, many states are realizing that they have little choice but to find new revenues for their transportation systems.