Legislation introduced to find alternative Highway Trust Fund revenues

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-03) has introduced H.R.383, the Road User Charge Advancement Act of 2021, legislation that would build on the Surface Transportation Systems Funding Alternatives (STSFA) program included in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. The bill was originally introduced during the last Congress and included in the Moving Forward Act. If it secures passage this Congress, it would nearly double current funding to $35 million annually for STSFA.

The STSFA program incentivizes states to find alternative funding solutions for the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), as a reliance on revenues from the current gas tax becomes a less feasible method of keeping the HTF solvent. The federal gas tax has lost nearly 71% of its purchasing power since its most recent rate increase in 1993 due to inflation and the increase in fuel-efficient and alternative-fuel vehicles. Failure to develop new sources of revenue could see the HTF experience a $190 billion shortfall in the next decade.

The STSFA program has already funded projects in multiple states dealing with vehicle miles traveled (VMT) pilot projects. A VMT user fee would ensure that these fuel-efficient and alternative-fuel vehicles would generate revenue for the HTF at the same level as traditional gas-powered vehicles once they become more common on the highway system.

“ATSSA supports the proposed legislation, as a user-fee based revenue system for the HTF is vital to ensure the continuation of long-term highway reauthorizations in the future,” ATSSA Vice President of Member Engagement said.

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