By Carolyn Kramer, director, Transportation Investment Advocacy Center
Thirty states this year approved transportation investment measures estimated to generate $7.7 billion in one-time and recurring revenue, according to analysis by ARTBA’s Transportation Investment Advocacy Center® (ARTBA-TIAC). Nearly $10 billion more in new and recurring transportation investment was approved through state and local ballot measures.
State lawmakers continue to rely on motor fuel taxes to increase transportation investment. Twenty-five states introduced bills to increase gas or diesel taxes, and four— Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois and Ohio— approved these measures.
To provide long-term stability from their motor fuel taxes, 13 states introduced legislation to convert to a variable-rate formula and adjust an existing formula. Alabama, Arkansas, and Illinois all included variable-rate components with their motor fuel tax increases. Utah approved legislation to impose the general sales tax on gasoline purchases and increase the state diesel tax. Virginia implemented a regional gas tax along the I-81 Corridor and a statewide diesel tax increase.
Building on a trend from previous years, 24 states introduced legislation to implement or adjust an electric vehicle fee. Alabama, Arkansas, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, North Dakota and Ohio approved a new electric vehicle fee. Wyoming adjusted an existing fee. Of the states that approved electric vehicle fees, seven included a fee for hybrid vehicles. Twenty-eight states now have an electric vehicle fee.
Several states also considered innovative funding solutions during the 2019 legislative sessions. Mileage based user fee studies or pilot programs were considered in 14 states. Oregon approved expanding its existing pilot program. Utah lawmakers passed legislation to permit electric and alternative fuel vehicle owners to opt into a road usage charge. Five states introduced legislation to utilize tolling for new revenue.
Recurring revenue bills (vehicle registration fees, license fees, severance taxes, among other mechanisms) were introduced in 26 states and approved in four. One-time funding bills (appropriations, bonds, etc.) were introduced in 20 states and approved in 15.
These legislative measures are in addition to state and local transportation investment ballot measures. Voters in 19 states approved 89 percent of 305 measures in 2019, which will generate $9.6 billion in new and recurring transportation investment.