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


Mass Transit Is Collapsing Everywhere

By Randal O’Toole. The Hill (Online). May 13, 2018.

Why We Need to Stop Subsidizing Public Transit

By Randal O’Toole. Governing. May 7, 2018.

Airline Fees and Common Sense: Prohibiting Ancillary Charges Would Not Benefit Passengers

By Ike Brannon. May 3, 2018.

Cato Studies

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.

Give Me 3’: Do Minimum Distance Passing Laws Reduce Bicyclist Fatalities?

By Cody Nehiba. Research Briefs in Economic Policy No. 115. May 30, 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.


The Future of Public Transit

Featuring Art Guzzetti, Randal O'Toole, and Thomas A. Firey. October 25, 2017. Policy Forum.

Setting Infrastructure Priorities: Considerations for the 115th Congress

Featuring Randal O'Toole, Michael Sargent, Alan Pisarski, Shirley Ybarra, & Peter Russo. March 8, 2017. Capitol Hill Briefing.

Setting Transportation Infrastructure Priorities

Featuring Baruch Feigenbaum, Randal O'Toole, Marc Scribner, Ron Utt, & Chris Edwards. March 6, 2017. Policy Forum.

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.