- 2016; Regional RUC System Definition and Pilot Planning Project; $1,500,000; Created a concept of operations that all participating states—Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah and Washington—agreed upon. The project set forth the basic principles of how a regional RUC system will function for future pilots. Additionally, the project created a system and business requirements for the Oregon- California pilot in order to move RUC from a concept to a functional program and determine the basis for the contracts for the California regional interoperability project. The established requirements were communicated in five documents and made available to all participating states for use in developing data flow and protocols and business requirements that integrate common requirements with state specific details.
- 2017; Regional RUC (OR/CA) Pilot Project; $2,590,000; The project built a case for interoperability by demonstrating how a clearinghouse could aggregate and distribute RUC data from multiple sources. In order to build an interoperable system, states need RUC data parsed and distributed, indicating miles driven by residents in and out of state and taxes owed by miles driven in state and/or jurisdiction. The project displayed how each state could maintain their own sets of requirements and rates, while the clearinghouse is responsible for consolidating and disseminating that information back to the states. The findings of the project emphasize the importance of data standardization, so all data conforms to the same format and definitions, as well as understanding and preparing for the challenges associated with processing large amounts of data, as necessary with interoperable multi-state RUC systems. The findings also underscore the importance of addressing hesitancy to share RUC related data amongst states, showing the need to establish protocols for releasing Personally Identifiable Information.
- 2018; Exploration of RUC and Automated Vehicles at both the state and in a regional interoperable system; $950,000; The project demonstrated the importance of states engaging with automated vehicles stakeholders to better understand their technical capabilities and operational constraints. The project found that automated vehicles already operate in a complex regulatory environment, so asking those businesses to set up data exchange policies may be a challenge. This further underlies the importance of improving usability and convenience of RUC systems. Ultimately, the project recommended that states continue to engage with autonomous vehicle stakeholders in order to leverage their technology in the implementation of a standardized RUC software module.
- 2019; Road usage charge and blockchain; $250,000;. The blockchain demonstration project has not yet started and will design and test blockchain technology as a way to share transactional information between jurisdictions. This in turn improves the functionality of future pilot programs by potentially eliminating the cost of establishing separate reporting mechanisms such as a clearinghouse. If this demonstration shows that blockchain can be used for this purpose, it could reduce administrative costs for other jurisdictions. The planning effort for the proposed blockchain demonstration will leverage the lessons learned from each of these programs, as well as RUC West initiatives—individual state pilots and the regional RUC pilot-- and translate them into a regional concept focused on consistency and interoperability.
- 2020; Road usage charge summit; $134,875; This grant funded a summit which occurred in June 2022 in collaboration with NCSL, bringing together state DOT representatives, state lawmakers and other RUC stakeholders.
Nine member states—California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah and Washington—have enacted RUC-related legislation. Five of those states—California, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington—have NCSL fact sheets detailing RUC legislative activities. This section summarizes enacted state RUC legislation from RUC America states that do not already have a separate fact sheet.
Nevada enacted two RUC-related bills in 2019. Nevada (AB 483, 2019) directed the state Department of Motor Vehicles to conduct a pilot program on annual vehicle miles traveled, as well as the type of vehicle and fuel system, and to report every six months to the legislature. The state also enacted a resolution (SCR 3, 2019) establishing an interim legislative study committee to explore alternative solutions for transportation funding, citing an increase in electric vehicles, with a final report and recommended legislation submitted in February 2020. The recommendations in the final report included establishing a working group to study issues such as the sustainability of the Highway Fund, which resulted in the passage of AB 413 in 2021. Another recommendation directed the legislature to pass a bill requiring all revenue collected from the gas tax and license and registration fees to be used exclusively for the construction, maintenance, and repair of public highways, transit and transportation infrastructure.
Based on the recommendations from the interim legislative study committee, Nevada also enacted legislation in (AB 413, 2021) which required the Department of Transportation to establish an Advisory Working Group to study certain transportation issues. The working group must study, among other issues, the sustainability of the State Highway Fund including an analysis of the Natural Resources Defense Council funding model presented to the Legislative Committee on Energy on August 24, 2020, and Utah’s Road Usage Charge Program. A report with the working group’s findings must be issued to the Director of the Legislative Council Bureau on or before December 31, 2022.
New Mexico enacted a memorial – which do not have the force of law - in 2019 (HM 77) requesting requested their state DOT to actively participate in RUC America and to develop proposed legislation to implement a mileage-based user fee system.
Oklahoma enacted a bill (HB 1712) in 2021 establishing the Road User Charge Task Force (Task Force) until June 30, 2024. It outlined Task Force membership, which includes the state Department of Transportation, metro planning organizations, state Tax Commission, Oklahoma Municipal League, state DOT Tribal Advisory Board and legislators appointed by the speaker of the House and the Senate president pro tem. The bill directed the Task Force to submit findings and recommendations to the legislature by Dec. 31, 2023, on how to best implement a RUC program.
Rural Drivers and RUC
In 2016, RUC America conducted research to address perceptions about equity related to rural drivers in a RUC system. Two additional states were added in May 2018 to the study. Using data from ten states—Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington—the organization evaluated how a RUC system would effect urban and rural drivers. The findings determined that rural drivers would save money under a RUC system because they drive longer but fewer trips and tend to drive less fuel-efficient vehicles, making the gas tax more expensive than a per-mile fee. Ultimately, the research showed that urban drivers would pay between three tenths of a cent and 1.4% more than they pay in the gas tax and rural drivers would pay between 1.9% and 6.3% less than they pay in the gas tax.
In 2022, RUC America has undertaken an update to the rural study for all the prior states as well as adding five new states to the analysis: Alaska, Oklahoma, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Wyoming. The update will also move from the previously studied 3 geographic classes to 5 geographic classes. Using more geographies than the previously studied classes is key to capturing differences in travel behavior between core and suburban portions of large cities, between large and small urban areas, and between less dense areas with and without close ties to urban areas. The final report is anticipated in early 2023.