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


Light Rail a Bad Choice for Florida County

By Randal O’Toole. August 18, 2014.

Rapid Buses Beat Rails

By Randal O’Toole. Baltimore Sun. July 31, 2014.

Driverless Cars Yes, V2I No!

By Randal O’Toole. Daily Caller. July 16, 2014.

Cato Studies

Rapid Bus: A Low-Cost, High-Capacity Transit System for Major Urban Areas

By Randal O’Toole. Policy Analysis No. 752. July 30, 2014.

The Worst of Both: The Rise of High-Cost, Low-Capacity Rail Transit

By Randal O’Toole. Policy Analysis No. 750. June 3, 2014.

Review of Project Connect

By Randal O’Toole. Working Paper No. 20. May 30, 2014.


Taking Illinoisans for a Ride

Randal O'Toole. Transportation Brief. July 2009.

Public Filings

Dean v. City of Winona

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

Rethinking Federal Highway and Transit Funding

By Chris Edwards. Testimony. May 6, 2014.

FTA’s Capital Investment Grants

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

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.