The wheels are turning on our fourth phase of Surface Transportation System Funding Alternatives Program mileage-based user fee (MBUF) work.
In this phase, we’ll build on findings from our 2020-2021 MBUF Work to explore the potential impacts of MBUF in Eastern states, and help policymakers find a transportation funding solution that is equitable for all road users.
Phase 4 Key Focus Areas
In our last phase of work, we heard a desire for more information from participants, policymakers, transportation stakeholders, and subject-matter experts. Many wanted to learn more about state-specific outreach and legislation, nail down which rate setting approach is best for both commercial and passenger vehicles, and understand the socioeconomic impact of MBUF.
Adding to our research from previous phases of study, the 2022 MBUF Work will lean into these areas of study by focusing on several key topics, expanded upon below.
Expanded Truck Pilot
In our previous phases, we learned that one rate for all trucks doesn’t work and that tiered rates based on MPG don’t work. Continuing our exploration of equitable and effective rate setting approaches for trucks, the 2022 MBUF Work includes an expanded National Truck Pilot. The pilot, which began earlier this month, will continue through November and include the following components:
- Diverse vehicle types (weight, configuration)
- Cross-border/international travel (Canada)
- Continued work with the Motor Carrier Working Group exploring commercial vehicle MBUF rate setting based on registered weight
- A Proof of Concept to examine existing frameworks such as the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) and International Registration Plan for reporting under an MBUF
Expanded Passenger Vehicle Pilots
Passenger vehicle pilots included in our 2020-2021 MBUF Work focused on tolling customers in Northern Virginia and transportation stakeholders in Delaware, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. Our 2022 work will expand our study in New Jersey and North Carolina to include both transportation stakeholders and members of the general public. Additionally, small technology pilots in Delaware and Pennsylvania will test in-vehicle telematics and ways existing agency programs can be leveraged to move MBUF forward.
Per-Mile Rate Setting
Understanding how to set per-mile rates has been a key hallmark of our effort to provide policymakers with real-world data they can use to inform decision making. To that end, our 2022 MBUF Work includes a per-mile rate setting analysis focusing on the financial and policy considerations of MBUF for Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and North Carolina. This analysis is being led by Mercator, a firm of subject-matter experts providing financial advisory, policy analysis, and strategic consulting insights.
Building on our 2020-2021 analysis of MBUF’s effect on drivers in different geographies, we will conduct an economic and racial equity analysis to understand the impact of MBUF on various income groups and racial demographics in North Carolina, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
Peer Exchange Workshop
As states consider whether and how to move forward with MBUF, it’s essential they explore key lessons learned from states with active MBUF programs. With this in mind, we’re holding a Peer Exchange Workshop to provide a conversation with states that have implemented MBUF programs.
Synergies and Approaches
This phase will continue our study of synergies and approaches that explore how MBUF implementation can maximize efficiencies within state, regional, and national frameworks. Our work will include coordination with IFTA, North Carolina Turnpike, and international toll road operator Transurban.
Education and Outreach
Through the use of targeted, state-specific marketing and presentation materials, we will continue to engage with transportation stakeholders and the general public. This includes:
- Message testing to identify successful outreach strategies for Virginia’s Mileage Choice Program
- An outreach campaign in Pennsylvania to build awareness about MBUF
- Additional state-specific outreach and targeted materials
- Continued public opinion surveys, pilot surveys, and pilot focus groups
MBUF Steering Committee
Our MBUF Steering Committee will continue to inform our research by providing guidance from industry experts and stakeholders.
Learn More About Our MBUF Work
For more information about the Coalition’s MBUF work, check out our latest report, Exploration of Mileage-Based User Fee Approaches for All Users, which explores our passenger and commercial vehicle studies conducted in 2020-2021. Our insights build on earlier work the Coalition has conducted since 2018 to better understand how MBUF impacts drivers in the Eastern U.S. This exploration has included passenger vehicle pilots in 2018 and 2019, as well as a multi-state truck pilot conducted in 2018-2019.
Working with state partners, the Coalition will continue to operate pilot programs that explore the viability of MBUF and answer questions about how such a system could be implemented on a national scale.