Principles for the 2020 Surface Transportation Reauthorization
America’s surface transportation infrastructure needs significant improvements and rehabilitation, yet Congress is uncertain about how to do this. Some want to significantly increase federal spending on infrastructure. Others want to end deficit financing of transportation and end federal restrictions that reduce the efficiency and effectiveness of the funds that are spent.
To resolve this conundrum, this paper presents three principles that Congress should apply to a new surface transportation funding bill. These principles are pay-as-you-go, user fees, and subsidiarity.
Pay-as-you-go. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that limiting transportation expenditures to actual transportation revenues, rather than relying heavily on borrowing, will reduce deficit spending by at least $116 billion over the next decade. Putting transportation on a pay-as-you-go basis will also make transportation agencies more responsive to the needs of transportation users.
User fees. Congress should rely on and encourage state and local governments to rely more on user fees for transportation. This can be done by eliminating restrictions on road tolling and incorporating user fees into the formulas for distributing funds to the states.
Subsidiarity. Congress should give state and local transportation agencies greater latitude in deciding how to spend their shares of federal funds. This should promote the efficient use of those funds by reallocating decisionmaking closer to voters and taxpayers. Subsidiarity includes distributing funds using formulas that divide the funds between jurisdictions, not competitive grants that often reward inefficient proposals, and using as few funds as possible — preferably two, one for highways and one for transit — rather than the two dozen funds used today.
Together, these principles will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of federal transportation spending.
Since Congress created the Interstate Highway System in 1956, it
has passed laws authorizing or renewing highway excise fees and
federal funding for surface transportation — that is,
highways and transit — out of those fees about every six
years. The current authorization expires in 2020. Congress is now
wrestling with how to fund necessary infrastructure rehabilitation
while avoiding unnecessary costs to federal taxpayers. This paper
proposes three key principles for a 2020 reauthorization bill aimed
at improving the efficiency and effectiveness of federal
The 2020 reauthorization will be written by a divided Congress,
with fiscally liberal Democrats leading the House, fiscally
moderate Republicans leading the Senate, and an ostensibly fiscal
conservative Republican in the White House. Conventional wisdom in
recent years is that American infrastructure is in decline and so
Congress must pass a huge infrastructure bill.
The crumbling-infrastructure claim is exaggerated. The number of
highway bridges considered “structurally deficient” has steadily
declined by more than 60 percent: from 137,865 in 1990 to 54,560 in
2017. The average roughness of all categories of roads has also
declined. Still, the nation does have infrastructure needs and
Congress is likely to address some of those needs in transportation
reauthorization. The goal of the three principles outlined here is
to make sure those funds are spent as effectively as possible.
The reauthorization bill will include money for both highways
and transit. In my previous books and papers, I have argued that
virtually all transit and most highway needs should be funded
locally. Yet Congress is not likely to give up federal funding of
transit in this reauthorization. The principles outlined in this
analysis will promote more efficient use of transit funds,
benefiting both transit systems and riders.
Principle 1: Pay as You Go
As coauthor of the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, Sen. Albert
Gore, Sr. (D-TN), insisted that the interstate highways be built on
a pay-as-you-go basis: the roads would be built only as fast as the
gas taxes and other highway user fees specified in the bill were
collected.1 This meant two things. First, the
federal government could not spend more than the collected
revenues. Second, the states could not sell bonds to finance
roadwork that would be repaid out of the states’ future allocations
of federal highway funds.
Gore had excellent reasons for this demand. First, the interest
on bonds would increase the total cost of the system, either
slowing its rate of construction or requiring higher fees from
highway users. Second, and perhaps more important, a pay-as-you-go
system would provide useful feedback to state highway agencies. In
1956 there was no guarantee that the interstate highways would be
used enough to justify their cost. If states sold bonds to build
them and then failed to collect enough revenues to repay the bonds,
the federal government could be held liable for any state
The pay-as-you-go system survived for more than 40 years.
Congress would authorize a funding bill every six years based on
projections of what gas tax and other collections would be. This
authority, however, was only the ceiling on how much could be
spent. Congress would then appropriate funds every year, tempering
those appropriations based on actual fee revenues. If revenues fell
short of expectations, Congress would appropriate less than was
In 1998, however, Congress added a new wrinkle to the
reauthorization bill: it made the authorized spending both a
ceiling and a floor. If revenues failed to meet expectations,
appropriators were required to find funds elsewhere in order to
fund the full amount authorized. This provision was repeated in the
2005 reauthorization bill.
This first became an issue in 2008, when the financial crisis
led to a reduction in total driving and therefore gas taxes fell
short of the anticipated revenues. Since then, Congress has
transferred $140 billion in general funds, including $70 billion in
the 2015 reauthorization, to keep the highway trust fund
solvent.2 In 2016, for example, $36.3 billion in
fuel taxes and other user fees were collected for the highway
portion of the trust fund.3 Yet Congress required that $39.7 billion
be spent from that fund.4 The resulting gap was filled with
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that limiting
expenditures to expected revenues would reduce the federal deficit
by at least $116 billion over the next decade.5 The agency
noted that this system would arguably be fairer because — at
least with respect to highways — “those who benefit pay the
costs.”6 This leads to the next principle:
expanded use of user fees.
Principle 2: Promote User Fees
Ever since Oregon first created a gasoline tax to pay for roads
in 1919, user fees have been a major source of funding for surface
transportation. As noted in a 2010 Reason Foundation report on
restoring trust to the highway trust fund, user fees have several
advantages: fairness (those who get the benefits pay the costs);
proportionality (those who use transport services most pay the
most); self-limiting (fees are set just high enough to cover the
costs and do not raise general funds); and predictability (revenues
depend on users, not on political whims). Perhaps most important,
user fees provide signals to both users and producers, telling
users the relative cost of the resources they use and telling
producers where more investments are needed.7
These signals impose a discipline on both users and producers.
Users who aren’t willing to pay for transportation can’t complain
that the transportation system isn’t serving their needs.
Transportation providers whose revenues are limited to user fees
have incentives to find the most cost-effective means of providing
transportation. The departure from the user-fee principle in recent
years has reduced that discipline and led to bridges to nowhere and
streetcar lines that almost no one rides even when the fares are
Arguably, some forms of infrastructure are what economists call
public goods, meaning that if the goods were provided
privately, people would receive benefits from the goods even if
they avoided contributing to the goods’ cost. That, in turn, would
mean not enough of the goods would be supplied — and perhaps
none at all. Storm sewers, for example, benefit everyone in a
floodplain whether they pay for them or not, so few people will
have incentive to pay. As a result, such forms of infrastructure
may have to be funded through taxes. Transportation, however, is
not a public good. It is relatively easy to exclude people from
highways and transit lines if they refuse to pay a user fee.
Some argue that transportation can provide benefits to people
who aren’t necessarily users, so some subsidies are justified. Such
benefits are called externalities, and virtually everything in the
economy has externalities. If Congress accepts the principle that
externalities justify subsidies, then the advocates of every
infrastructure project — indeed, every project of any kind
— will attempt to show that their projects produce the
greatest externalities. Since such demonstrations cannot be
rigorously proven, this will result in transportation funds being
allocated on purely political grounds. That, in turn, likely means
an outsized portion of transportation’s benefits will go to the
wealthy and powerful rather than to the users who are willing to
pay for them. However, the truth is that the vast majority of
transportation benefits go to transport users, and not to some
mythical side beneficiaries. Thus, the user-fee principle is
perfectly applicable to transportation infrastructure.
One quantifiable benefit of user fees is that infrastructure
funded by them is better maintained than infrastructure funded with
tax dollars. Nationwide, 8.9 percent of bridges are considered
structurally deficient. Only 2.6 percent of toll bridges are in
this category, along with 5.5 percent of bridges owned by the
states, which rely mainly on user fees to pay for roads and
bridges. However, local governments rely more on general funds to
maintain roads, and 12.2 percent of locally owned bridges are
structurally deficient.8 State roads are also smoother than
locally owned roads.9 In contrast to roads, transit systems
rely exclusively on non-user fees to fund maintenance, and they
have a maintenance backlog of nearly $100 billion.10
To improve maintenance, then, what is needed is not a huge
infusion of federal dollars but an increased reliance on user fees
to pay for infrastructure. One way that Congress can apply this
principle is to limit federal transportation expenditures to the
fees collected from transport users by the federal government, as
described above in Principle 1. Beyond this, Congress can
incorporate user fees into the formulas for distributing funds to
state and local governments, promote mileage-based user fees, and
eliminate all restrictions on the use of highway tolling.
Principle 2a: Incorporate User Fees into Funding Formulas
Early formulas for distributing highway funds to the states
relied on such factors as population, land area, and road miles.
The 2015 reauthorization, known as the FAST Act, based 2016-2020
distributions on the amount each state received in 2015 with a
variety of modifications. One modification, for example, required
that states receive no less than 95 percent of the gas taxes their
residents pay into the Highway Trust Fund. Transit funds were
distributed using a variety of formulas that used such factors as
vehicle revenue miles and passenger miles.
To simplify the formulas, both highway and transit funds should
be distributed primarily based on the recent distributions of
funds. Because grants to transit agencies can vary widely from year
to year, a 10-year average should be used as the funding benchmark
rather than just a single year, as was done in the FAST Act. Beyond
this, Congress should encourage state and local transportation
agencies to rely more on user fees by incorporating those fees into
User fees include funds collected from highway users and spent
on highways, as well as funds collected from transit users and
spent on transit. General funds collected for roads and transit and
user fees collected for roads that are spent on transit or other
purposes should not count toward the federal formula. This would
give state and local government a powerful incentive to emphasize
user fees for their own funding of transportation facilities,
maintenance, and operation.
Basing the distribution of funds solely on user fees would
result in a wildly different distribution of funds from historic
levels. Because of that, the incorporation of user fees into the
formula should be phased in over the six-year reauthorization
period. In the first year, the distribution could be 90 percent
based on historic funding and 10 percent based on user fees. With
each successive year, user fees would be boosted by 5 percent
until, in the sixth year, user fees would account for 35 percent of
the funding. This would give state and local transportation
agencies time and incentives to substitute user fees for other
sources of funding.
The federal transit fund could be distributed to transit
agencies based on the population and land area served by each
transit system, as well as on the total fares collected by each
transit agency. To simplify distribution in urban areas that are
served by several transit agencies, Congress could give the
Department of Transportation the option of distributing funds to
states or metropolitan planning organizations, which would then be
passed through to the transit agencies.
Principle 2b: Eliminate Tolling Restrictions
While gas taxes are a user fee, they are a poor sort of user
fee, roughly similar to charging for groceries based on how far
people push their shopping carts through the supermarket rather
than what they put into those cards. Specifically, gas taxes suffer
from four faults:
Unlike income taxes, sales taxes, and property taxes, gas taxes
don’t automatically adjust for inflation. The value of the 18.4
cent gas tax that Congress set in 1993 has declined to about 11
cents, in 1993 dollars, today.
Gas taxes do not automatically adjust for more fuel-efficient
cars. Although a 3,000-pound plug-in hybrid Prius puts about the
same wear and tear on a road as a 7,000-pound Chevrolet Suburban,
the former pays a lot less to use the road, and electric cars pay
nothing at all. This also creates an equity problem because
low-income families tend to own older, less fuel-efficient
Gas taxes don’t go to the owners of the roads. Although close
to half of all driving takes place on minor roads and streets that
are mostly owned by local governments, nearly all gas taxes go to
the states. While the states share some of the taxes with local
governments, it isn’t enough, and so local governments have to
supplement them with general funds. That supplement was $43 billion
in 2016 alone.11 Not coincidentally, as noted above,
local roads and bridges tend to have the biggest maintenance
Gas taxes don’t fix congestion. Although it costs far more to
provide a road network that can support peak-period traffic than
off-peak traffic, auto drivers pay about the same whether they
drive during rush hour or well outside of rush hour.
Increasing gas taxes can temporarily solve the first problem but
would do nothing to solve the other three. Especially because the
nation’s auto fleet is becoming increasingly electrified, a new
system of user fees must be found. Two promising candidates are
tolling and mileage-based user fees.
When Oregon started collecting gas taxes to pay for roads in
1919, gas taxes made more sense than tolls because the fuel tax
collection costs were much lower and more convenient than
collecting tolls. That was still true in 1956, when Congress first
created the Interstate Highway System and the Bureau of Public
Roads opposed tolling because of its high collection costs. As a
result, Congress forbade states receiving federal highway funds
from tolling the roads built with those funds, with a few existing
toll roads grandfathered in.
Today, however, tolls can be collected electronically, greatly
reducing the cost and inconvenience. In recent reauthorizations,
Congress has allowed a few areas to toll roads on a demonstration
basis. The Oregon Transportation Commission, for example, has
applied for federal approval for a large-scale variable-priced
tolling program of major freeways in the Portland area; the varying
toll rates are intended to shift users to less congested times of
the day.12 For the 2020 reauthorization, Congress
should lift all restrictions on tolling and leave it to the states,
who are technically the owners of the roads, to decide whether
tolling is a good way of funding infrastructure.
Principle 2c: Promote Mileage-Based User Fees
In addition to pioneering gas taxes, Oregon has also become the
first state to experiment with mileage-based user fees on a large
scale. The author is a volunteer in Oregon’s program and is
satisfied that the state’s system protects the privacy of auto
users while making it possible to collect different fees based on
road owner and the time of use or the amount of traffic.13
Variable pricing can be applied using either tolls or
mileage-based user fees in order to eliminate congestion.
Economists often note that congestion results from poorly priced
roads; just as airfares are higher at Thanksgiving than in February
and Florida hotels are priced higher in the winter than the summer,
roads should be priced higher when demand for them is highest.
However, this leads many people to charge that, if such policies
were enacted, roads will be used only by the wealthy.
To the contrary, roads have a unique characteristic that
guarantees this won’t happen. Unlike airplanes and hotels, the
ability of roads to accommodate demand declines when
demand is the highest. Numerous studies show that the throughput of
roads falls when traffic slows: at 50 miles per hour, a freeway
lane can move about 2,000 vehicles per hour, but at 25 miles per
hour it can only move about 1,000 vehicles per hour. By keeping
traffic moving at high speeds, road pricing can double the number
of vehicles using the roads during peak periods. Instead of pricing
people off the roads, variable charges actually price people onto
The federal government, as well as the states, has long
collected gas taxes, and some have suggested that the federal
government begin a mileage-based user-fee program. But the main
justification for having a federal fuel tax is the low cost of
collection: the federal government collects its fees directly from
importers and refineries, something the states couldn’t do because
not all fuel imported at one port or refined in one refinery are
used in that state.
No such cost advantage exists for a federal mileage-based user
fee, so the subsidiary principle (see below) suggests those fees
should be collected by the states. The only possible federal role
might be to help ensure that state systems are interoperable with
other states, but that is likely to happen even without federal
intervention. Oregon and Washington, for example, have both
experimented with mileage-based user fees and ensured that their
systems are interoperable.
Because of the advantages of mileage-based user fees over gas
taxes, Congress may want to promote mileage-based user fees by
offering a small bonus in the state highway formula. For example,
for every 10 percent of highway users in a state that has
mileage-based user fees instead of gas taxes, the state could get a
1 percent increase in federal funds. This would encourage states to
convert to mileage-based user fees in order to maintain their share
of federal funds.
Principle 3: Subsidiarity
Subsidiarity is the “the principle that decisions should always
be taken at the lowest possible level or closest to where they will
have their effect, for example in a local area rather than for a
whole country.”15 In other words, state and local
governments are better equipped to know state and local
transportation priorities than Congress, so Congress should not
hamstring the state and local governments by telling them how to
spend transportation funds. This principle requires:
abolishing competitive grant funds
reducing the number of formula funds to an absolute minimum,
preferably just one for highways and one for transit
ending the requirement for long-range transportation planning,
removing all restrictions on highway tolling.
The highway tolling issue is discussed under Principle 2. The
others are discussed in more detail below.
Principle 3a: No Earmarking
In 1956, Congress created a formula for distributing highway
funds based on each state’s population, land area, and road miles.
While the formula changed over time, each state had some discretion
in how to use the federal funds it received so long as they were
spent on highways. In 1982, Congress supplemented the formula by
adding 10 earmarks — requirements that some of the funds be
spent on specific projects.
In the 1987 reauthorization bill, the number of earmarks grew to
187, which contributed to President Reagan’s veto of the bill
— a veto that was overridden by Congress. There were 538
earmarks in 1991, and 1,850 in 1998.16
Most of these earmarks didn’t increase the funding received by a
state. Instead, they came out of the funds the states were to
receive under the highway formulas. In some cases, the states would
have carried out the earmarked projects anyway. But often, those
earmarks had little or nothing to do with transportation, including
earmarks for museums, national park visitor centers, and other
non-transportation-related projects. Thus, while the earmarks
clearly benefited some constituencies, they reduced the efficiency
and effectiveness of the state transportation systems.
By 2005, the number of earmarks had increased to more than
8,000, or an average of 15 for each congressional
district.17 From Congress’s point of view, earmarks
appeared to be cost-free because members appeared to be working
hard to get projects for their constituents when, in fact, those
funds were going to go to the states anyway.
One problem with this system was that earmarks tended to divert
funds away from needed infrastructure maintenance toward new
construction. New construction is more visible than maintenance, so
politicians prefer to bring home funding for new projects rather
than maintaining existing ones. As Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) noted
after the 2005 reauthorization, the money earmarked by the bill
“could have repaired more than 30,000 structurally deficient
Earmarks clearly violate the principle of subsidiarity. In 2010,
Congress recognized this and decided to ban earmarks. That ban
should remain in place for the 2020 reauthorization.
Principle 3b: Abolish Competitive Grant Funds
At first glance, competitive grant funds such as the New Starts
and TIGER/BUILD programs sound like a good idea. Congress
identifies a potential need but recognizes that some states or
regions have that need more than others. Then it creates a fund and
authorizes the Department of Transportation to distribute money
from the fund to the projects according to specific criteria.
Yet those criteria are necessarily subjective. The result is
that the distribution of funds turns out to be highly politicized.
A Cato study of New Starts funds found that they disproportionately
go to states that have members on the House Transportation and
Infrastructure Committee.19 A Reason Foundation study made similar
findings regarding TIGER grants.20
Moreover, once a fund is created, interest groups lobby for it
to continue operating long after it has fulfilled its original
purpose. The TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic
Recovery) program was created to help the economy recover from the
2008 recession. The economy has recovered, yet the program lives
on, albeit under the new name of BUILD (Better Utilizing Investment
to Leverage Development).
In addition, Congress isn’t always correct in identifying needs.
Light rail and streetcars were rendered obsolete in 1927 when
advancements made buses less expensive to buy and operate than
streetcars. Between that year and 1975, hundreds of American cities
converted their streetcar lines to buses, leaving just six cities
with streetcars, and those cities retained them either because they
went through tunnels that couldn’t handle the exhaust fumes from
buses or because the transit agency or company owned a private
right of way for the streetcars.21
With everyone in the industry in agreement that buses were
superior to streetcars (a belief that also applied to light rail),
Congress nonetheless created a fund in 1991 to help cities build
new light rail and streetcar lines. This decision resulted from
former Massachusetts governor Francis Sargent’s (R-MA) successful
effort in 1973 to convince Congress to allow cities to cancel urban
interstate freeways and use the federal funds to make transit
capital improvements. Sargent wanted to cancel a freeway in Boston,
and since Boston already had lots of rail transit, it had plenty of
places where it could reallocate that federal transit money, such
as the purchase of new railcars, signaling systems, and capital
Other cities, including Buffalo, Portland, Sacramento, and San
Jose, also wanted to cancel freeways, but their transit systems
centered on buses. Unlike rails, buses are not capital-intensive,
so spending the cancelled freeway money on buses didn’t make sense.
These cities decided to build light rail, not because it was an
efficient or effective way of moving people, but because it was
expensive and could absorb the federal funds while at the same time
creating work for the contractors who otherwise would have built
By 1991, all of the cities that wanted to cancel freeways had
done so, but in the meantime a lobby had grown for more rail
construction, regardless of its cost-effectiveness. So, Congress
repealed the 1973 freeway law and created a new fund called New
Starts for transit capital grants. Most of the money in this fund
went for the construction of new rail transit lines.
To make matters worse, in order to be eligible for the largest
possible share of the New Starts fund, cities began planning
increasingly expensive rail projects. In the 1980s, after adjusting
for inflation to today’s dollars, the average light-rail project
cost about $30 million per mile. In the 1990s, costs grew to more
than $50 million per mile. In the 2000s, costs reached well over
$100 million per mile, and in the 2010s, average costs reached $200
million per mile.
Seattle’s Sound Transit 3 program, approved by voters in 2016,
calls for spending $32 billion to build 62 miles of light-rail
lines, for an average cost of more than $500 million per
mile.22 Sound Transit is counting on federal
matching funds for these lines. Without the New Starts fund, cities
and transit agencies would be much more cautious with how they
spend their resources.
Principle 3c: Reduce the Number of Formula Funds to a
Federal surface transportation dollars are currently distributed
through at least two dozen different funds, including funds for
such things as freight highways, transit-oriented developments, and
transportation planning.23 The multiplicity of these funds has the
same effect as earmarking: incentivizing states to spend
transportation money in certain ways, which often results in
less-efficient spending than if the states were free to prioritize
transportation spending. Yet each fund creates a constituency of
interest groups that benefit from the fund even if the overall
benefits to the nation are negligible.
The division of funds into so many different categories also
increases the overhead costs to state and local governments because
the Department of Transportation requires recipients to carefully
document that the money they received was spent only on projects
allowed under each fund. For example, Jay Schlosser, the city
engineer in Tehachapi, California, reports that the administrative
costs associated with federal funds are at least five times greater
than those associated with the city’s own funds.24
To minimize these problems, Congress should reduce the number of
funds. Ideally, there should be just two: one for highways that is
distributed to the states, and one for transit that is distributed
to metropolitan planning organizations or, for those transit
agencies outside of metropolitan areas, the transit agencies
Congress should also minimize the requirements limiting the use
of these funds, thus allowing state and local governments to set
their own priorities. Historically, for example, most federal
transit funds have been dedicated to capital improvements, and many
transit agencies have also had to dedicate a large share of their
funds to capital improvements to match federal funds. The result of
this emphasis on capital is the nearly $100 billion maintenance
deficit faced by the nation’s transit industry. Liberalizing these
restrictions would allow individual agencies to make their own
determinations of the appropriate ratios of capital, maintenance,
and operating costs.
Principle 3d: End the Requirement for Long-Range Transportation
Congress currently requires states and metropolitan planning
organizations to prepare short-term (3-year) transportation plans,
also known as transportation improvement plans, as well as
long-range (20-year) transportation plans. Under the above
simplified formulas, neither of these is necessary, but it is
especially important to abolish the requirement for long-range
planning, as its results have been pernicious.
Given rapidly changing technologies, no one can say for certain
what our transportation system will look like in 10 years, much
less in 20 years. Just a decade ago, no one would have predicted
the huge effect that ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft
would have on cities and transit systems. Ten years from now,
driverless ride hailing may have an even greater effect. Since
these new technologies and their effects are unpredictable, no one
can write an effective long-range transportation plan.
Congress requires that the long-range transportation plans be
revised every five years to take such changes into account.
However, once set in motion, government plans are difficult to
change, even when they fail. Interest groups that benefit from a
plan will lobby to keep it in place even if the plan is otherwise a
For example, the Sacramento Area Council of Government’s 2006
long-range transportation plan admitted that the plans
written for the region “during the past 25 years have not worked
out.” Despite transit improvements and a deliberate decision not to
build more roads, transit’s share of travel had declined, and
driving had doubled since 1980. Despite attempts to promote infill
and discourage sprawl, low-density development “continues to
out-pace infill.”25 Yet the council learned nothing from
these failures. Instead, the 2006 plan “continues the direction of”
previous plans by giving “first priority to expanding the transit
system” and attempting to “reduce the number and length of auto
Rather than force state and metropolitan governments to devote
funds to pointless and often counterproductive plans, Congress
should simply let the states and regions decide for themselves how
much planning they need to do. This is another case of affirming
the principle of subsidiarity.
A surface transportation reauthorization bill based on the
principles of pay-as-you-go, user fees, and subsidiarity would
greatly increase the efficiency and effectiveness of federal
transportation spending. While these principles may reduce the
total amount of federal dollars being spent on transportation, the
increased efficiency would more than offset that decline, thus
improving public welfare. Congress should seriously consider
incorporating these principles into the 2020 surface transportation
The federal, state, and local governments spend more than $50
billion a year subsidizing public transit, yet transit is losing
riders at a steady and, in some urban areas, catastrophic rate.
1 Richard F. Weingroff, “Kill the
Bill: Why the U.S. House of Representatives Rejected the Interstate
System in 1955,” Federal Highway Administration, June 27, 2017.
2 Tax Policy Center, What Is
the Highway Trust Fund and How Is It Financed? (Washington:
Brookings Institution, 2017).
3 Federal Highway Administration,
“Highway Statistics 2016,” 2018, Table FE-210.
4 Federal Highway Administration,
“Apportionment,” February 8, 2017.
5 Congressional Budget Office,
Options for Reducing the Deficit: 2019 to 2028
(Washington: CBO, 2018), p. 7.
6 Congressional Budget Office,
Options for Reducing the Deficit: 2019 to 2028, p.
7 Robert W. Poole, Jr. and Adrian
T. Moore, Restoring Trust in the Highway Trust Fund (Los
Angeles: Reason Foundation, 2010), p. 1.
9 Federal Highway Administration,
“Highway Statistics 2016,” Table HM-63 and Table HM-64. These
tables do not distinguish between highway owners, but they do
distinguish between interstates, arterials, and collectors.
Interstates are state-owned and are the smoothest roads, collectors
are mostly locally owned and are the roughest roads, and arterials
are mostly state-owned and are intermediate in roughness.
10 Department of Transportation,
Status of the Nation’s Highways, Bridges, and Transit:
Conditions and Performance (Washington: Department of
Transportation, 2016), p. l (Roman numeral L). The report estimates
a backlog of $89 billion, but in 2019 dollars that is $100
11 Federal Highway
Administration, “Highway Statistics 2016,” Table HF-10.
12 Andrew Theen, “Tolls on I-5,
205, Step towards Federal Approval,” The Oregonian,
November 29, 2018.
13 Oregon Department of
Transportation, “Getting to OReGo,” 2016.
20 Baruch Feigenbaum,
Evaluating and Improving TIGER Grants (Los Angeles:
Reason, 2012), p. 10.
21 George Hilton, testimony
before the Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust and Monopoly, the
Industrial Reorganization Act: Hearings before the Subcommittee on
Antitrust and Monopoly on S. 1167, Part 4A, 93rd Cong., 2d Sess.
(1974), p. 2205.
22 John Niles, “Cost Exceeds
Benefits in Sound Transit’s ST3 Light-Rail Expansion,” Washington
Policy Center, 2016.