road use charge
An impressive 28 companies have officially expressed interest in the Oregon-organized Road Use Charge Pilot Project (RUCPP), designed to demonstrate operation of various RUC (road use charge) technologies. This makes them eligible to make proposals and to seek contracts to participate.
Bob Poole has been at it a long time and no one puts the case with more force - the case for running highways as businesses. We quote from his conclusion in a recent Reason magazine piece that deserves to be read in full:
Skymeter's Bern Grush calls it TDP pricing - standing for charges that involve measures of Time, Distance, Place. Others call them vehicle-miles fees or mileage charges. Sometimes they become VMT charges for Vehicle Miles Traveled. Others again call them road user charges or road use charges, hence RUCs. Texas Transportation Institute scholars call them Mileage Based User Fees, MBUFs.
Engineers at the University of Minnesota (UMinn) have devised a plug-in device for measuring vehicle-miles traveled and logging it for road use charges (RUC) that they say could be deployed near-term. The system makes use of an electronic processor and memory that can be plugged into an existing vehicle data bus via a Data Link Connector plug, and which uses cellphone data links.
Attendees at the ITS America annual conference at National Harbor Maryland say they are very encouraged by Obama administration officials' interest in road pricing and other ITS technologies. Ken Philmus, ITSA board member and a toll industry veteran now with ACS, says US officials have been attending the conference and inviting ITS people in large numbers.
US House Transportation chair Rep James Oberstar is attempting to backtrack from his recent advocacy of swift action to institute a national vehicle-miles charge. He has had an aide claim the press "mistook" him.
The aide John Schadl put out a statement this week as follows:
House transportation committee chairman James Oberstar is hot for implementing a vehicle-miles charge to take over from the failing gasoline tax as part of the next 5-year federal financing bill, the XYZ-TEA. In a back and forth with Rep Earl Blumenauer (Dem OR) in a committee hearing Tuesday April 29 Oberstar said that a VMT (vehicle miles traveled) charge was something "we have to do" and is "going to be done."
Chairs of the transportation commissions of California, Oregon and Washington have cosigned letters to US legislators urging that federal law encourage states to develop alternative roads funding such as vehicle miles traveled (VMT) fees.
"We ask Congress to confirm the feasibility of a VMT-based fee system by mandating the federal government to fully explore a transition from the gas tax to a funding system tied more directly to road use and impact on the road system," they write.
US transportation secretary Ray LaHood told an AP reporter Thursday that the country can't count on gasoline/diesel taxes to raise money for roads, adding: "We should look at the vehicular miles program where people are actually clocked on the number of miles that they traveled."
Massachusetts new transport secretary and turnpike chairman James Aloisi is proposing an interim increase in the state's gasoline and diesel taxes to be phased out in favor of a road use charge (RUC) by 2014, according to the Associated Press.