The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) today announced $15.5 million in Surface Transportation System Funding Alternatives (STSFA) grants to six states that are exploring new ways to fund highway and bridge projects. Alternatives to conventional financing are seen as imperative, FHWA officials said, due to the Highway Trust Fund’s gradual inability to keep pace with increasing construction and repair costs nationwide.
“To ensure the U.S. road system is the best in the world, we can no longer rely solely on the federal gas tax and the Highway Trust Fund,” said Acting FHWA Administrator Brandye L. Hendrickson. “New sources of funding for the design, construction and repair of our nation’s roadways have never been more necessary, and these grants will help open the door to new financial innovations.”
The STSFA grants fund projects to test the design, implementation and acceptance of user-based alternative revenue tools. FHWA officials selected seven proposals from six states – California, Colorado, Delaware, Missouri, Washington and Oregon.
The seven projects will investigate and evaluate various user-based approaches to raising revenue, including on-board vehicle technologies to charge drivers based on miles traveled and multi-state or regional approaches to road user charges. They will address common challenges involved with implementing user-based fees such as public acceptance, privacy protection, equity and geographic diversity. The projects will also evaluate the reliability and security of the technologies available to implement mileage-based fees.
STSFA was established under the “Fixing America's Surface Transportation” (FAST) Act.