In recent decades, Congress has increasingly departed from user-pay systems, and instead requires users of some forms of transportation—primarily auto drivers—to pay for other forms of transportation—primarily public transit. In addition to being unjust, this policy has led to excessive construction costs and the selection of transportation projects whose costs far outweigh their benefits. One symptom of this misallocation of funds is the growing congestion in America’s urban areas.

Proponents of urban transit and intercity high-speed rail are using concerns about energy and global warming to promote the diversion of even more highway user fees to their favored forms of transportation. Yet these alternative forms of transportation are unlikely to save energy or significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

More on Urban Growth and Transportation


The Vanity of Public Transit

By Randal O’Toole. Washington Times. March 28, 2014.

The Justice Department’s Unjust Toyota Fine

By Walter Olson. The Wall Street Journal. March 23, 2014.

Needs Have Been Exaggerated

By Chris Edwards. The New York Times (Online). March 13, 2014.

Cato Studies

Review of the Panama City Metro Project

By Randal O’Toole. Working Paper No. 17. March 12, 2014.

Privatizing the Transportation Security Administration

By Chris Edwards. Policy Analysis No. 742. November 19, 2013.

‘Paint Is Cheaper Than Rails’: Why Congress Should Abolish New Starts

By Randal O’Toole. Policy Analysis No. 727. June 19, 2013.


Taking Illinoisans for a Ride

Randal O'Toole. Transportation Brief. July 2009.

Public Filings

FTA’s Capital Investment Grants

By Randal O’Toole. Testimony. December 11, 2013.

Encouraging Private Infrastructure Investment

By Chris Edwards. Testimony. July 24, 2013.

Comments on Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Major Capital Investment Projects

By Randal O’Toole. Testimony. March 5, 2012.

Cato Reviews & Journals

Nashville’s Anti- Competitive ‘Black-Car’ Regulations

Mark W. Frankena. Regulation. Summer 2013.

Why Government Planning Always Fails

Randal O'Toole. Cato's Letter. Winter 2008.


The Future of Transportation and the Highway Trust Fund

Featuring Randal O'Toole. June 19, 2013. Capitol Hill Briefing.

The Locavore’s Dilemma: In Praise of the 10,000-Mile Diet

Featuring Patrick J. Michaels. June 27, 2012. Book Forum.

Saving Urban Transit from the Federal Government

Featuring Randal O'Toole. June 14, 2012. Capitol Hill Briefing.

Downsizing the Federal Government

Reforming Federal Land Management

By Randal O'Toole and Chris Edwards. February 2012.

Airports and Air Traffic Control

By Chris Edwards and Robert W. Poole Jr.. June 2010.

Airports and Air Traffic Control

By Chris Edwards and Robert W. Poole Jr.. June 2010.