Seminar: How Will DOTs Pay for Transportation Investments? A Review of Alternative Road User Financing Approaches

September 23, 2011   9:30 am - 12:00 pm
Baruch College Conference Center
151 E. 25th St. (bet. Lexington & Third Aves.), 7th Floor
More Info
University Transportation Research Center, Region II

Relying on the current Federal and State motor vehicle fuel tax as the major approach to finance transportation is neither viable nor fiscally appropriate because of the combined effects of inflation and improved vehicle fuel efficiency. As transportation capital and operating costs have continued to increase annually, the purchasing power of fuel tax revenues has declined nationally and is forecast to continue to decline.

The seminar will review alternative road user financing approaches currently being considered by state transportation policymakers and administrators in the U.S. Examples of such approaches include:

  • Increasing the current fuel tax and indexing the fuel tax to inflation
  • Deploying a vehicle miles traveled (VMT) fee system
  • Implementing innovative toll strategies on existing toll roads and on roads that do not currently have tolls.

The system objectives, concept of operations and system architectures of these approaches will be reviewed and assessed. As State officials deliberate over the transportation finance problem and consider new financing approaches, a number of fiscal and administrative challenges will need to be addressed including:

  • Implementation costs associated with technology innovation
  • Ensuring that a stable and sufficient revenue source will result over the short and long term and for vehicles powered with fossil fuels and other energy sources
  • Providing high accountability
  • Generating public acceptance
  • Guarding against evasion and fraud
  • Preserving privacy
  • Guaranteeing equitable fees/charges among all user groups and political jurisdictions

About the Speaker

Dr. John Collura is a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and serves as the Director of the UMass Transportation Center. He has also served as a Professor and Director of the Advanced Transportation Systems and Infrastructure Programs at Virginia Tech; as a Faculty Fellow at the USDOT Volpe National Transportation Systems Center; as a Distinguished Scholar with the Intelligent Transportation Society of America at the Autostrade in Florence, Italy; and as a visiting faculty member at Stanford University. He has been involved in transportation engineering research, education, and outreach for more than 30 years and has focused his research and teaching activities on the theory and application of information technologies in transportation design and operations with an emphasis on public finance and electronic payments, traveler information dissemination, preferential traffic signal control strategies, and public transportation management. He has published more than 100 refereed articles in professional and scholarly journals and international conference proceedings. He received his Ph.D. at North Carolina State University in Raleigh and is a registered professional engineer (P.E.).