FHWA Awards $18.7 Million to Eight Projects to Explore New Highway Funding Methods
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) today awarded $18.7 million in “Surface Transportation System Funding Alternatives” (STSFA) grants to eight projects, led by six state Departments of Transportation and two transportation coalitions, to test new user-based funding methods for highways and bridges. The program helps states explore innovative new ways to provide long-term support for the Highway Trust Fund.
“The pilot projects under the STSFA program allow states to learn more about potential new user fees structures that can complement traditional funding sources that states rely on to build and improve the nation’s highway and bridge infrastructure,” said Acting Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack.
Since its creation in 2016, the STSFA grant program has provided $73.7 million to 37 projects in states across the nation. It funds projects that test the design, implementation and acceptance of user-based systems, such as a mileage-based fee. They also support outreach by transportation officials to help the public understand these new methods.
The “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation” (FAST) Act directs the FHWA to establish the STSFA grant program to let states demonstrate new fee-based revenue mechanisms that could supplement the Highway Trust Fund. Among other things, the STSFA program requires applicants to address equity concerns, such as the fees’ impacts on differing income groups and geographic areas. It recognizes that a mileage-based, road-user charge system may potentially redistribute cost burdens among different users.
Recent reports and evaluations of active STSFA grant program demonstrations have outlined key lessons learned and identified several important factors for implementing road-user charge programs including — data security, interoperability among multiple states, program administrative costs and public acceptance.
STSFA Grant Selections 2020
|Award Recipient||Project Name and Description||Amount|
|California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)||Road Charge Pilots Program: Caltrans will test the viability of current global positioning system technology to determine which roads are part of a public network and may be subject to a fee.||$2,150,000|
|Delaware Department of Transportation/
Eastern Corridor Coalition (formerly I-95 CC)
|Testing Implementation Paths for Mileage Based User Fees (MBUF): The Coalition will demonstrate and test paths for MBUF in the DC metro area and seven states — DE, MD, ME, NC, NJ, PA and VA.||$4,670,000|
|Hawaii Department of Transportation||Digital Mapping Data, Distance-Precision, and Transportation Taxation: Hawaii DOT will investigate the current state and completeness of digital mapping data to determine which roads are part of a public network and may be subject to a fee.||$250,000|
|Kansas/Minnesota Departments of Transportation||RUC Demonstration Project: Kansas DOT will lead a joint effort working with Minnesota DOT to explore the impacts of RUC implementation in the Midwest, with focus on rural and agricultural populations and intrastate and interstate commercial freight and supply chain operators.||$3,250,000|
|Ohio Department of Transportation||Alternative User Based Revenue Initiative: Ohio DOT will obtain data for a large-scale outreach program geared towards educating the public about RUC.||$2,000,000|
|Oregon Department of Transportation/
|Road Usage Charge Summit: RUC West will host a conference that will explore opportunities and barriers to interoperability, expand knowledge about RUC and foster new partnerships.||$134,875|
|Texas Department of Transportation||Demonstration of Smartphone-Based Alternative to Current Gas Tax Structure: Dallas-Fort Worth will assess the feasibility and technological capability of utilizing smartphone technology to understand travel patterns and the development of an accounting framework.||$5,000,000|
|Utah Department of Transportation||UDOT will use 3-D modeling software, e-Construction, drones and other FHWA-supported technologies to improve project delivery.||$1,250,000|