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


Politicians Will Penalise Innovators by ‘Levelling the Playing Field’

By Ryan Bourne. UK Telegraph. August 16, 2018.

Subsidies Can’t Save Transit from Its Death Spiral

By Randal O’Toole. The Hill (Online). August 16, 2018.

Don’t Blame Ridesharing for Mass Transit’s Woes

By Randal O’Toole. Foundation for Economic Education. August 14, 2018.

Cato Studies

The Effect of Zoning on Housing Prices

By Ross Kendall and Peter Tulip. Research Briefs in Economic Policy No. 124. August 1, 2018.

Ride-Sharing, Fatal Crashes, and Crime

By Angela Dills and Sean E. Mulholland. Research Briefs in Economic Policy No. 120. July 5, 2018.

The Gender Earnings Gap in the Gig Economy: Evidence from More Than 1 Million Rideshare Drivers

By Cody Cook, Rebecca Diamond, Jonathan Hall, John A. List, & Paul Oyer. Research Briefs in Economic Policy No. 118. June 20, 2018.


How the Met Council Misplans the Twin Cities

Randal O'Toole. Thinking MN. No. 7. Spring 2017.

The Streetcar Scam

Randal O'Toole. MI Report. May 31, 2012.

Taking Illinoisans for a Ride

Randal O'Toole. Transportation Brief. July 2009.

Public Filings

Comments on Proposed Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communications Mandate

By Randal O’Toole. Public Comments. April 7, 2017.

Flytenow, Inc. v. Federal Aviation Administration

By Ilya Shapiro, Berin Szoka, Randal John Meyer, & Thomas W. Struble. Legal Briefs. July 25, 2016.

Managing Federal Lands

By Randal O’Toole. Testimony. February 9, 2016.

Cato Reviews & Journals

Who Should Pay for Infrastructure?

Richard M. Bird and Enid Slack. Regulation. Spring 2018.

What Agency Improves Rulemaking the Most?

Sam Batkins. Regulation. Fall 2017.

A More Optimistic View

David R. Henderson. Regulation. Spring 2017.


Romance of the Rails: Why the Passenger Trains We Love Are Not the Transportation We Need

Featuring Randal O'Toole, Art Guzzetti, Jim Mathews, Marc Scribner, & Jason Kuznicki. October 10, 2018. Book Forum.

The Future of Public Transit

Featuring Randal O'Toole and Jarrett Walker. October 2, 2018. Policy Forum.

The Federal Role in Public Transit

Featuring Randal O'Toole and Jarrett Walker. October 1, 2018. Capitol Hill Briefing.


Why Government Planning Always Fails

By Randal O’Toole. September 29, 2007.

Downsizing the Federal Government

Federal Highway Policies

By Chris Edwards and Gabriel Roth. August 2017.

Public Housing and Rental Subsidies

By Howard Husock. February 2017.

Privatizing Amtrak

By Chris Edwards. October 2016.