by Paige Terryberry
Senior Analyst for Fiscal Policy, John Locke Foundation
A 17-state coalition seeking out gas tax alternatives is looking for volunteers in North Carolina to test mileage-based user fees (MBUF).
In response to increased usage of fuel efficient and electric vehicles, the Coalition looks for workable solutions to shift future road funding away from the gas tax. Today, vehicles use half the energy per mile than they did in the 1970s. As these trends continue, the gas tax may be insufficient to cover the cost of our roads. A more sustainable funding source is needed.
According to an article today in the News & Observer, “The Eastern Transportation Coalition has been studying the idea for several years through surveys and pilot programs involving commercial trucks and private vehicles.” The Coalition of 17 states in the Eastern United States and Washington, D.C. has completed four passenger vehicle pilots and two commercial vehicle pilots.
In North Carolina, recent budget adjustments proposed diverting sales tax revenue to NCDOT in coming years to address revenue inefficiencies. The Eastern Transportation Coalition’s study of MBUF in North Carolina is admirable and provides another option to address gas tax dependability.
A study from the John Locke Foundation recommended North Carolina begin to transition from fuel taxes to MBUFs. Cities too, should “piggyback onto the mileage-based fee system to maintain their streets rather than using general funds.”
The Eastern Transportation Coalition, through real world study, revealed a few key findings: