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


Still Gridlocked after All These Years

By Randal O’Toole. The Hill (Online). July 17, 2015.

Hype for New Infrastructure Is Overrated

By Randal O’Toole. Orange County Register. June 19, 2015.

Rapid-Bus Systems a Smarter Investment than Light Rail in U.S.

By Randal O’Toole. Tampa Tribune. June 15, 2015.

Cato Studies

Rails and Reauthorization: The Inequity of Federal Transit Funding

By Randal O’Toole and Michelangelo Landgrave. Policy Analysis No. 772. April 21, 2015.

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.


Taking Illinoisans for a Ride

Randal O'Toole. Transportation Brief. July 2009.

Public Filings

Midwest Fence Corp. v. U.S. Dept. of Transportation

By Meriem Hubbard, Ralph Kasarda, Ilya Shapiro, & Trevor Burrus. Legal Briefs. June 2, 2015.

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.

Cato Reviews & Journals

Fannie, Freddie, and Future Bailouts

Policy Report. March/April 2015.

More Flexible International Travel

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

Working Papers

Peter Van Doren. Regulation. Fall 2014.


Zoning Rules! The Economics of Land Use Regulation

Featuring Mark A. Calabria. October 15, 2015. Book Forum.

Will the Transportation Security Administration Follow the Law?

Featuring Jim Harper and Peter Russo. September 25, 2015. Capitol Hill Briefing.

New Incentives from Federal Transportation Funding

Featuring Randal O'Toole. March 27, 2015. 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.