Revisiting the Fuel Tax–Based Transportation Funding System in the United States

Zhirong J Zhao, Hai Guo, David Coyle, Ferrol Robinson, Lee Munnich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Increasing concerns are noted over the current transportation funding system based on fuel taxes, but there has been little scholarly literature that evaluates the fuel tax system in a comprehensive manner. As a synthesis, this article reviews the background of fuel taxes designated for transportation and examines issues related to the fuel taxes with four tax-evaluation principles, including economic efficiency, social equity, revenue adequacy, and political and administrative feasibility. Although the analysis does not indicate an absolute denial of fuel taxes as a revenue source to support transportation, it shows that the current transportation funding system based on fuel taxes is no longer sustainable with the rapid erosion of fuel tax base.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-126
Number of pages22
JournalPublic Works Management and Policy
Volume20
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015

Keywords

  • fuel taxes
  • highway user fees
  • infrastructure finance
  • tax analysis
  • transportation funding

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