ARLINGTON, VA. — The American Transportation Research Institute Wednesday released its much-anticipated assessment of the nation's transportation investment options.
The report, entitled “A Framework for Infrastructure Funding,” concludes that the only meaningful mechanism for attaining the administration's vision for a large-scale infrastructure program is through a federal fuel tax increase.
The inefficiency of other mechanisms, including mileage-based user fees and increased tolling, will fall far short of the needed revenue stream without placing undue hardship on system users.
In addition, ATRI's research documents that a federal fuel tax increase will incentivize states to generate multi-million-dollar matches to the new federal funds, ultimately moving the United States closer to the infrastructure investment goals proposed by both Congress and the president.
“Maybe the most important and unexpected benefit of a federal fuel tax increase is the hundreds of thousands of new, high-paying construction jobs that will be produced,” said Dennis Dellinger, president of Cargo Transporters. “We often assume that the only reason to raise the fuel tax is to lay more asphalt and concrete. Forgotten in the mix is that tax revenues can simultaneously produce good roads and good jobs.”
The report further documents the consequences of continuing with the “do-nothing” option. The federal fuel tax has not been raised in more than two decades, resulting in significant costs to system users, particularly the trucking industry. While the trucking industry contributes more than $18 billion in federal user fees each year, growing traffic congestion and freight bottlenecks now cost the industry more than $63 billion annually. The report also indicates that growth of e-commerce will likely slow as freight deliveries fail to meet the real-time demands of U.S. consumers.
Other key ATRI findings and recommendations include:
“ATRI's research corroborates what many of us have espoused in Washington and in every state capital: People are demanding action on transportation investment and the federal fuel tax is the ideal tool for delivering the much needed funding,” said Chris Spear, ATA President.
For more information, go to the website at TruckingResearch.org.
ATRI is the trucking industry's 501(c)(3) not-for-profit research organization. It is engaged in critical research relating to freight transportation's essential role in maintaining a safe, secure and efficient transportation system.