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 Truth about Infrastructure

By Randal O’Toole. US News and World Report. March 24, 2015.

Proposed Purple Line Will be Slow, Increase Congestion, Waste Energy

By Randal O’Toole. March 17, 2015.

Stop Attacking Uber for Lax Safety Standards

By Matthew Feeney. Washington Post. December 19, 2014.

Cato Studies

Is Ridesharing Safe?

By Matthew Feeney. Policy Analysis No. 767. January 27, 2015.

Policy Implications of Autonomous Vehicles

By Randal O’Toole. Policy Analysis No. 758. September 18, 2014.

Opening the Skies: Put Free Trade in Airline Services on the Transatlantic Trade Agenda

By Kenneth J. Button. Policy Analysis No. 757. September 15, 2014.


Taking Illinoisans for a Ride

Randal O'Toole. Transportation Brief. July 2009.

Public Filings

Dept. of Transportation v. Association of American Railroads

By Jeffrey S. Bucholtz, Brian Callanan, and Ilya Shapiro. Legal Briefs. September 29, 2014.

Corr v. Metro. Washington Airports Authority

By S. Kyle Duncan and Ilya Shapiro. Legal Briefs. September 18, 2014.

Dean v. City of Winona

By Erick Kaardal, Daniel Frank, and Ilya Shapiro. Legal Briefs. July 26, 2014.

Cato Reviews & Journals

More Flexible International Travel

Kenneth J. Button. Regulation. Winter 2014-2015.

Working Papers

Peter Van Doren. Regulation. Fall 2014.

Immigration and the Public Coffers

Policy Report. September/October 2014.


New Incentives from Federal Transportation Funding

Featuring Randal O'Toole. March 27, 2015. Capitol Hill Briefing.

How Should Ridesharing Be Regulated?

Featuring Matthew Feeney and Brink Lindsey. February 10, 2015. Policy Forum.

The End of Transit and the Beginning of the New Mobility: Policy Implications of Self-Driving Cars

Featuring Randal O'Toole and Matthew Feeney. October 14, 2014. Policy Forum.

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.