For decades, the per-gallon motor fuel tax served as a stable and sustainable user fee for transportation funding. However, the rise of alternative fuel and highly fuel-efficient vehicles, rising inflation and construction costs, and increased demand for capacity projects due to population growth have yielded an uncertain financial future. This leaves public agencies struggling to keep up with the growing demands of the transportation system through maintenance, operations and mobility improvements.
Road usage charging (RUC)—also referred to as vehicle miles traveled tax, a distance-based user fee, or a mileage-based user fee—provides a more equitable, sustainable and flexible transportation funding model. Under a RUC program, motorists are charged based on the number of miles they drive as opposed to the number of gallons of fuel they put in their vehicles. This evolution to a more usage-based model provides better sustainability and equitability as vehicles continue to become more fuel efficient and continue evolving to all-electric models that require no fossil fuels.
WSP has led some of the largest and most successful RUC pilots in the country, dating back to our work for the Federal Congestion Pricing Pilot Program in 1994. To this day, we continue to support clients across the United States in the research, planning, analysis, development, deployment, communications and evaluation of RUC applications. These efforts have led to wider state consideration and enhanced regional interest in RUC as a viable future transportation funding source.