The NCSL Blog


By Ben Husch and Kevin Pula

States are getting $14.2 million to explore alternative ways to fund surface transportation.

The U.S. Departmdollar bill floating above roadent of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration announced the grants for states under a new program, Surface Transportation System Funding Alternatives (STSFA), to explore alternative revenue mechanisms to help sustain the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund.

The new program was included in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, a five-year reauthorization of federal surface transportation programs. NCSL advocated strongly for the program’s inclusion following the adoption of a policy resolution by the conference in 2013, and reauthorized thereafter, supporting federal grants to states to explore alternative revenue mechanisms.

Specifically, the $14.2 million will fund eight projects that aim to pilot a variety of options to raise revenue, including onboard vehicle technologies to charge drivers based on miles traveled and multistate or regional approaches to road-user charges. The projects will address common challenges involved with implementing user-based fees, such as public acceptance, privacy protection, equity and geographic diversity. The projects will also evaluate the reliability and security of the technologies available to implement mileage-based fees. See a complete list of projects receiving funding. 

STSFA is authorized to increase its funding by 33 percent to $20 million in 2017 through 2020. To learn more about the FAST Act, please see NCSL’s legislative analysis published shortly after the bill was enacted.

Additionally, as part of NCSL’s 2016 Legislative Summit, the NRI Committee held a 90 minute session entitled “Gearing Up: Transportation Funding for the Future,” where members of the committee and others in attendance were briefed on a recent report by the Council of State Chambers on future transportation funding issues. Committee members were also asked to respond to a number of questions regarding the future of transportation funding in their state.

To learn more about state transportation funding issues, visit NCSL’s Transportation Funding Deep Dive and NCSL’s Road Usage Charge webpage. For any further questions or concerns regarding NCSL’s transportation funding work, please contact NCSL staff Ben Husch (202-624-7779) or Kevin Pula (303-856-1373).

Ben Husch is the director of NCSL's Natural Resources and Infrastructure Committee. Kevin Pula is a policy specialist in NCSL's Environment, Energy and Transportation program.

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.