Policy Documents

Ending Congestion by Refinancing Highways

Randal O’Toole –
May 12, 2012

Although gasoline taxes have long been the main source of funding for building, maintaining, and operating America’s network of highways, roads, and streets, the tax is at best an imperfect user fee. As such, Congress and the states should take action to transition from gas taxes to more efficient vehicle-mile fees. O'toole proposes a vehivle-mile fee in the place of gasoline taxes.  The change would preserve traveler privacy, eliminate nearly all traffic congestion, adequately funds all federal, state, and local roads, and does so in a revenue-neutral manner after eliminating gas taxes and local road subsidies. In fact, in the long run the proposal may even reduce total road costs and fees because it would give road agencies incentives to operate more efficiently.