The Eastern Transportation Coalition (TETC) has unveiled the findings of its international mileage-based truck pilot (ITP), highlighting the potential of a mileage-based user fee (MBUF) to link use and payment of the transportation system.
TETC’s real-world pilot, conducted from June to November 2022, included more than 250 commercial vehicles, recording more than eight million miles covering all 48 contiguous US states and four Canadian provinces.
TETC’s four major findings from the report are:
- MBUF can be applied to all commercial vehicles regardless of weight, fuel type, international travel, and type of operation.
- A weight-based MBUF has the potential to provide a more transparent link between usage and cost of road use.
- Uniformity does not have to be identical to be scalable and has the potential to substantially decrease administrative costs on the motor carrier and agency sides.
- Clearinghouse frameworks can be adapted to handle MBUF but roles and responsibilities need to be clearly defined
“Results from this international pilot underscore the potential of MBUF as a catalyst for a transparent and scalable highway funding solution,” said Dr Patricia Hendren, executive director of TETC and two-time speaker at Road User Charging Conference USA.
“Insights reveal the adaptability of the current motor carrier framework for MBUF implementation, demonstrating that a weight-based approach could establish a clear link between road usage and costs.
“Our work has shown there is an intersection between the trucking industry’s desire for uniformity, scalability, and streamlined administrative processes and our country’s need for sustainable highway funding.”
Conducted under the US Department of Transportation’s Surface Transportation Systems Funding Alternative (STSFA) programme, the ITP explored how a MBUF could account for the complexities of the trucking industry.
Bill Sullivan, executive vice president for advocacy at the American Trucking Association (ATA), said: “The pilot programme’s findings highlight that the diversity, complexity, and interstate nature of trucking makes imposition of a VMT [vehicle miles travelled] fee a far more difficult proposition than for other vehicles.
“The report identifies many of these issues and provides a roadmap toward resolving challenges.
“ATA will continue to support the Coalition’s efforts to identify and address the many yet unresolved barriers to implementation.”
Since 2018, TETC has explored MBUF as an alternative to the US fuel tax through nine passenger vehicle pilots and three commercial vehicle pilots, public opinion surveys, focus groups, and data analysis.
According to TETC, while MBUF has potential, key challenges and considerations must be addressed before implementation.
Under the STSFA grant programme, TETC said it will focus on comprehensive role reviews, lighter truck and intrastate MBUF impact assessment, fee consolidation feasibility, weight definition complexities, and alternatively powered commercial motor vehicle participation.
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