California, Delaware, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oregon and Utah are the recent recipients of Surface Transportation System Funding Alternatives grants totaling $10.2 million and awarded by the Federal Highway Administration.
The grants allow states to test new and innovative ways to fund infrastructure improvements and maintenance on roads and bridges — making travel safer for all road users.
Specifically, the grants will pay for projects to test the design, implementation, and acceptance of user-based alternative revenue tools. The various state projects will investigate and evaluate diverse mileage-based and road-user charges, including for trucks and automated vehicles, and the implementation and operation of the technologies at a regional level.
For example, Minnesota will receive nearly $1 million to demonstrate the feasibility of distance based user fees through the shared mobility model, such as mobility-as-a-service providers. With a $1.2 million grant, Utah will pilot a road user charge program for alternative fuel vehicles including hybrid and electric vehicles. Delaware is receiving more than $3 million to explore the use of mileage-based user fees in a multi-state region. The project addresses the requirements for implementation, interoperability, public acceptance, and other potential hurdles across state lines.
The average annual capital investment necessary just to maintain highway and bridge conditions in the U.S. at 2010 levels is between $65 billion and $87 billion, according to a Committee for Economic Development report. More significant improvements to system performance would cost as much as $145.9 billion per year.
The grant program was designed to give states the opportunity to test alternative solutions to support the Highway Trust Fund, which relies primarily on the federal gas tax.