Exploratory study : vehicle mileage fees in Texas.

Exploratory study : vehicle mileage fees in Texas.

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    Technical report; Mar. 2010-July 2010.
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    This project evaluates Vehicle Mileage (VM) fees as a possible funding mechanism for meeting the State of Texas’ long-term transportation needs. Researchers conducted listening sessions with the general public and stakeholders to gather input on the concept. Researchers also prepared a decision matrix that can aid policy makers in evaluating the various trade-offs in policy that will be encountered in vehicle mileage fee system development. This study identified both challenges and opportunities for implementation of VM fees: • most study participants viewed the implementation of mileage fees as unworkable; privacy, cost of administration, and enforcement emerged as the most commonly cited concerns; • the rationale for transitioning to mileage fees has not been adequately established with the general public; • a new funding mechanism will inherently raise fairness concerns among rural and low-income drivers; • despite concerns, research shows that the vehicle mileage fees are a logical, sustainable, long-term option to supplement or replace the fuel tax; • if pursued, simple implementation solutions will engender the greatest public and stakeholder support; • field demonstrations that illustrate the full spectrum of implementation aspects, including payment, administration, and enforcement, can show how the concept might work in Texas; and • effective policy design can address any major public acceptance issues. Finally, researchers recommend a demonstration approach that focuses on electric vehicles, tests all aspects of payment, administration and enforcement, and offers a low-technology deployment (using odometer readings) that would provide drivers with the option to adopt a high-technology alternative.
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