Federal Highway Administrator Mary Peters said recently the
nation cannot rely solely on fossil-based fuel taxes to fund
highway construction projects. Her comments were made at the
83rd annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board of
the National Academies on Jan. 13.
Citing more fuel-efficient cars and alternative fuels, Peters
explained that the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) is not keeping
pace with demand as it did when the nations Interstates
were first developed.
To maintain current conditions for highways and bridges for
fiscal year 2001 to 2020, the average annual investment required
would be $75.9 billion. The cost to improve them would be
$106.9 billion across all levels of government. These figures
were derived from the 2002 Conditions and Performance Report
released by Federal Highway Administration and the Federal
Specifically, Peters encouraged the transportation research
community to examine alternative funding methods more
along the lines of a public utility model where we pay for
what we use based on the time of day we use it, [and] how
many other people use it.
Implementing a demand management system not only
would generate additional sources of transportation investment
capital, but also cater to the highway users of the system,
according to Department of Transportation (DOT) Assistant
Secretary for Transportation Policy Emil Frankel.
Among other funding recommendations, DOT proposes lifting
the current ban on tolling the interstate highway system and
expanding the funding of transportation projects with public-private