Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) Fees Study

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TTI Researchers talk about innovative research projects in transportation
finance.

The researchers’ primary recommendation to help alleviate public concerns was to demonstrate the logic and sustainability of mileage fees through an electric vehicle implementation.

What's the problem?

Whether or not the state fuel tax can continue to provide sufficient funding for transportation development and maintenance has recently become an issue of much concern. The tax, as it is currently levied, generates revenue in proportion to fuel consumption, not actual use of the system. As vehicle fuel efficiency and use of alternative-fuel vehicles increases, the fuel tax system will not be a reasonable proxy for road use.

What did this project address?

The purpose of this study was to evaluate vehicle mileage fees as a possible funding mechanism for meeting long-term transportation needs in Texas. Also referred to as vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) fees, mileage-based user fees (MBUF), and time/distance/place (TDP) charging, this approach charges a fee based on each mile driven. This research represents an effort on the part of the State of Texas to evaluate these fee mechanisms with a particular focus on the specific needs of the state. Researchers held multiple focus groups with the general public. They also conducted stakeholder interviews and consulted technology experts that reviewed public input on possible deployment options.

Conclusions

Results indicated that most Texans are not supportive of mileage fees and that the public is unclear about how transportation funding works in Texas. It appears that concerns about privacy, administration, and enforcement will be difficult to overcome. The researchers’ primary recommendation to help alleviate public concerns was to demonstrate the logic and sustainability of mileage fees through an electric vehicle implementation. The research confirmed a consensus that applying a mileage fee to vehicles like these, which do not pay fuel taxes, makes the most sense for near term implementation. Graphic displaying VMT usage