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Who Pays for Roads? New Report Sets the Record Straight

As questions intensify regarding financial investment in infrastructure, a new U.S. PIRG report, Who Pays for Roads? How the “Users Pay” Myth Gets in the Way of Solving America’s Transportation Problems, proposes that all taxpayers—regardless of whether they drive—pay for the nation’s roads.

“The time has come for policy-makers to recognize something that has been true for years, but is especially true today: We all pay for America’s roads,” the report states. “Short-term funding patches—even modest increases in the gas tax—won’t change that. Nor will they be enough to enable America to achieve a 21st-century transportation system. Doing so will require bold rethinking of how we raise transportation money and how we spend it in the years to come.”

The report shows how a majority of Americans use public transit, bicycle and walk during any given week and, along with these “increasingly multimodal lives,” support using gas tax revenues for public transportation.

It suggests three steps to cope with the current transportation funding crisis: Accept that all Americans now bear the cost of roads by making transportation policy choices based on the investments that deliver the most benefits for the public, regardless of mode; treat revenue sources and investment decisions as separate and move toward a sensible pricing system for transportation that may include congestion pricing or pollution-based charges.

The text of the report is here.
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